News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Lacie LaRue: ‘Data Nerd’ Splits Donors Into 2,000 Segments

Oregon State University Foundation

Lacie Larue, 35
Senior Director of Annual Giving
Oregon State University Foundation
Corvallis, Ore.

Lacie LaRue got her start in fundraising as an 18-year-old student caller at Iowa State University, and she's risen quickly up the ranks ever since.

The up-and-coming fundraiser is helping the Oregon State University Foundation break away from staid ideas of annual giving, bringing a data-driven approach to keeping donors in the fold and encouraging them to give more.

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 Many annual- giving programs split donors into perhaps a few dozen categories based on factors like how much they give or how they give — through the mail, online, and so on. But Ms. LaRue, a self-professed "data nerd," works with an unusually complex set of information and divides supporters into more than 2,000 segments. This level of detail allows her to be more strategic — for example, readily identifying segments that don't perform well and redirecting her energy.

"It allows us to create a giving experience that is unique to that individual’s philanthropic interest at the university and helps strengthen the relationship," she says. "I love the analytics and digging through data and developing strategies out of what you find."

At Oregon State, Ms. LaRue has helped increase the number of annual-fund donors who give $1,000 or more for academics yearly by 5 to 11 percent each year since 2011.

"Lacie understands the value of utilizing data and consistently thinks outside the box," says Shawn Scoville, executive vice president of the foundation. "She is able to make a persuasive case to do things differently than what is ‘always done in annual giving.’ "

Send an email to Eden Stiffman.