Donor due diligence:
Introducing a better way to perform background research
Our mission is to democratise background research. The explosion of online data has widened the scope for both reputational risk and avenues for growth. As a result, due diligence processes that were already in place for practically every sector are struggling to keep up.
The benefits of a due diligence process that takes advantage of the wide range of publicly available information are clear. However, many businesses and organisations are still unable to fully access and mobilise that information.
Xapien is on a mission to change this. We offer leading-edge software that combines a simple, intuitive search feature with automated AI and machine learning-assisted algorithms. The result? A due diligence platform fit for the present and for the future.
Here, we investigate the challenges organisations face when conducting due diligence and background checks and how Xapien can help to solve them.
1) No access to resources
A lack of comprehensive and efficient background reporting tools prevents many organisations from benefiting from a truly intensive due diligence strategy.
Traditional due diligence narrowly focuses on sanctions, PEPs and watchlist screening, while public records like company records and officer records are checked. This ignores the growing mass of open source information, which is essential for reputational risk management.
While “going the extra mile” and performing manual searches using search engines and a few select sources might return information like news stories and social media data, this only scratches the surface of what the internet has to offer.
Discovering information is not the same as putting it to use, and not enough tools are capable of converting raw data into actionable insights. So, it’s high time for organisations to take advantage of this and extract insights from all available sources, giving them the edge to thrive in the face of adverse risks, regulatory pressures, and competitive environments.
How can Xapien help?
Accessible from anywhere, Xapien is an online platform that democratises access to cutting-edge due diligence for businesses of all sizes. With no integration costs, Xapien allows all teams and departments to perform powerful background investigations, regardless of their location. All you need is a laptop, Wi-Fi and off you go.
Xapien surfaces potential risks from the mass of online media so that you can draw quick conclusions and make informed decisions. By displaying the essential facts in an intuitive report, Xapien simplifies the due diligence methodology without sacrificing detail.
2) Overwhelming quantity of sources
Online data is generated at a faster rate than ever—millions of blogs are published a month and some 500 million tweets are sent every day. Much of this data is open source and related to a number of public and private sector entities, yielding potential for insightful background reporting. The problem is locating the relevant data and then extracting usable insights.
Search engines are a good starting point but need to be recognised for what they are. Search engines are consumer-centric businesses, meaning that results and rankings are dictated by search engine advertising and paid advertising. They’re optimised for the individual user, showing results that you are more likely to click on, based on past behaviour.
This can muddle critical information, as findings are organised based on subjective relevance and run the risk of being inconsistent. Search results can be manipulated depending on past and recent searches, location, language, and other factors.
This makes it hard to get a full and fair picture, and as such is unsuitable for a truly robust and extensive due diligence check.
Moreover, the sheer volume of open source data is unworkable without some level of automation — it’s simply not possible for human teams to find, read, and analyse all available sources. The result? A set of often unobjective and unrefined results that only hit the surface level for your background reporting and due diligence.
How can Xapien help?
Xapien’s technology optimises the due diligence process at every level. The platform searches, analyses, and collates data from millions of publicly available sources and delivers a comprehensive report within minutes, improving the speed and efficiency of due diligence workflows. It doesn’t just find disparate data, it reads it for you, saving hours of time.
Xapien does the heavy lifting for you, alleviating stress and waste of resources and time that could be spent elsewhere. The results derived from Xapien are insightful and useful enough to surcharge your related strategies. You can use the insights gathered from a wide range of sources for growth activities.
Unlike traditional search techniques, Xapien extends into international, multi-lingual sources as well as grey literature. Xapien makes light work of extracting insights from hard-to-find publicly available sources and automatically translates the relevant information.
3) Abstract points of information
Much of the internet is well-structured, but once you dig down into increasingly complex sources, accurately finding and analysing usable information becomes complicated.
Unstructured data can be hugely valuable, but under-used. Parsing data to generate a clear, comprehensive, and accurate final report is particularly difficult when you’re extending searches into abstract sources, including the deep web. There are two additional key problems here:
1. The more sources you work with, the greater the chance of error. For example, a subject’s name may only be mentioned once in a text and is subsequently referred to as ‘them’, ‘the company’ or ‘the businessperson’, etc. Without reading through sources in detail, it can be tricky to discern who ‘they’ really are. Meticulously combing through sources to identify all relevant individuals is time-consuming and exhausting.
2. Locating relevant data is only one stage of the process. Once relevant information sources are discovered, insights must be extracted, analysed and classified to give them some level of meaning. Manually converting findings into actionable insights and knowledge is time-consuming, meticulous, and requires a high level of analytical skill. Error rates are high and false interpretations are common.
How can Xapien help?
Xapien’s technology takes the name of a subject and identifies associated references in any given text. So, if a subject is referred to by its full name in the introduction of an article and as something else thereafter, Xapien won’t lose track of the subject. You can be confident that the data identified in Xapien’s reports are specific to the subject you want to investigate.
Xapien’s powerful algorithms find links between abstract and disparate data sources at a mass scale. This allows researchers to understand the verified links between different individuals and entities without having to connect the dots themselves. Bonus: The sources are traceable.
4) Integrating due diligence into other strategies
Producing accurate due diligence and background reports is a priority, but organisations are ultimately focused on growth and due diligence is just part of this process. Organisations today have an opportunity to leverage data gathered from due diligence for more positive means. After all, knowledge is power; siloing the knowledge gained from a robust due diligence search is a common yet wasteful business practice.
For example, you might find that you and your potential donor share far more mutual ground than you assumed. Relevant quotes, background interests, and wider affiliations can be a great icebreaker when fundraising.
A prospective partner might have been involved in similar projects as your organisation — this might be an excellent talking point in any forthcoming proposal. Let’s say while screening for ESG risks, you find they are an environmental campaigner. This could be valuable information for a new environmental fundraising campaign you are working on.
Due diligence is not solely about rooting out the dead wood and bad apples — organisations want to build positive, constructive relationships too.
Leveraging due diligence findings for other purposes enables businesses to gain a competitive edge. Having a full understanding of potential partners and stakeholders helps win business and make other critical decisions.
The problem is that manual due diligence searches simply aren’t fast enough for this purpose. Important information needs to be made available immediately, allowing teams to refine their strategies and prepare more effective proposals. Current methods often only allow time to focus on risk and compliance issues.
How can Xapien help?
Xapien isn’t constrained to watchlists, databases, and adverse media searches. It doesn’t confine itself to a few keywords either. Instead, it finds and reads all online information relevant to your subject. It then pulls out key insights such as close associates, affiliations, descriptions, and assets. Xapien reports can also be exported into easily shareable PDFs, fostering collaboration across teams and departments.
When in doubt, #XapienThem
Xapien enhances the entire end-to-end background research process whilst providing benefits that go above and beyond routine checks.
Crucially, Xapien unlocks a competitive edge that will help drive business growth, nurture prospects, build relationships, and foster a culture of positive collaboration. Bottom line: AI is the future of due diligence and it’s happening now with Xapien.
The power of Xapien is not under lock and key — our mission is to democratise rapid, thorough due diligence checks, making our leading class platform available to all organisations, across all sectors. No matter where you are based or what sector you operate in, Xapien is there to give you access to a whole universe of open source data.
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Search engines are great but they are only the starting point. Finding, reading and condensing the full picture is slow, hard, and painstaking work. Xapien can help.