New online tool helps prospect for wealthy clients

NOZA offers unique glimpse into individualized giving patterns

Dec 10, 2007 @ 12:01 am

By Davis D. Janowski

Advisers have a new, largely undiscovered and relatively inexpensive online database for prospecting for wealthy clients or for researching the giving habits of those they already have.

NOZA Inc. of Santa Barbara, Calif., offers a database of charitable-giving records of U.S. donors. The recently launched site, nozasearch.com, features nearly 30 million records and is growing at a clip of about 1 million records a month.

Pricing for the site varies by level of use. At the high end of the range is a package of 10,000 credits for $500 (that's 5 cents per record, versus 12 cents per record for a $25 package).

The site is a tool for non-profits, researchers and fundraisers that access the data either through NOZA directly or through the company's partners, including Blackbaud Inc. of Charleston, S.C., LexisNexis Group of Dayton, Ohio, and Kintera Inc. of San Diego, among others.

With NOZA, users can search for individuals based on their locations, their affinity for different types of charities or causes and the amount of the donations they typically make.

So why sign up to pay for such searches? Well, Internal Revenue Service reporting by non-profits includes only total donations — not who made them — and that information isn't reported by any other government agencies either.

The data populating NOZA come from Internet-based annual reports, newsletters, campaign honor rolls, press releases, event sponsor lists and other sources.

The benefit from NOZA is in aggregating and categorizing the data into a form that can be easily searched. The company has an algorithm that searches the web a few times a day for new information.

"We've provided the link where we found every piece of information in our database," said founder and chief executive Craig Harris. He and his wife financed NOZA by mortgaging their home several years ago. A stint as a volunteer in South America with the Washington-based Peace Corps inspired Mr. Harris.

"My wife and I returned to the U.S., and I thought I could make a living as a fundraiser for non-profits, but my experience as a frontline fundraiser showed me where all the greatest holes and needs were in terms of pursuing those willing to give," Mr. Harris said. "We have about 15,000 non-profits that pay to use our data," he said.

While no one else provides information on both private individual charitable donations and foundation giving, two fairly well-known providers of the latter include GuideStar.org, part of Philanthropic Research Inc. of Williamsburg, Va., and New York's Foundation Center, which charge between $300 and $1,000 for yearly subscriptions.

RIM OFFERS

With its legal troubles behind it for now, Research In Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Ontario, famous for the BlackBerry, has announced the availability of BlackBerry Professional Software. Based on the core features available with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server system, it is designed for small and midsize businesses of up to 30 users.

Among other features, the software provides wireless users access to e-mail, an organizer, the Internet and intranet applications. It is supposed to be simpler to install and manage, and it is less expensive than Enterprise, its older sibling. The software is priced at $499 for five users and $849 for 10 users, and can be expanded to 30 users with the purchase of additional licenses.

"The price seems right, and BlackBerry Enterprise features are definitely compelling to smaller firms. They should compare the price to hosted enterprise solutions from Internet service providers in their area, though, to make sure," said Sascha Segan, lead analyst for mobile phones and personal digital assistants at PC Magazine in New York.

"The perpetual advantage of BlackBerrys [over other phones] from an enterprise perspective is their manageability, how they can be centrally controlled by an [information technology] manager," Mr. Segan said.

Using the new solution, managers can turn features on and off, as well as remove applications and settings with the push of a button. BlackBerry models are available on all four national carriers — allowing businesses to solicit competing contracts.

One catch, though, is that RIM's competitors have turned up the heat. Both Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., and Nokia Corp. of Espoo, Finland, offer increasingly compelling mobile-device management solutions, and there's also a proprietary solution from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP for use with the company's iPAQ devices. The Microsoft solution, known as Mobile Device Manager, is expected to be available next year.

Jamie Lendino, editor and columnist for Smart Device Central in New York (smartdevicecentral.com), a site dedicated to covering news about mobile devices and services, said the product provides services small-firm administrators have wanted: "Feature management and security — things the big corporations have been leveraging and taking for granted for some time."

Davis Janowski can be reached at djanowski@crain.com.

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