Data Insights Provide Clear Path for Expanding Nonprofit’s Donor Support
Case Study

Data Insights Provide Clear Path for Expanding Nonprofit’s Donor Support

by Morgan Falor
July 25, 2023

At a Glance

Customer Profile

Established in 2000, Rancho Cielo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that leverages a 100-acre ranch in Monterey County, California to provide underserved and disconnected youth with opportunities to learn vocations that lead them to long-term financial and personal success.



  • Comprehensiveness of analysis, predictive analytics, and five-year development revenue forecast
  • Confidence in working with nonprofit industry experts
  • Immediate opportunity to utilize strengths and opportunities identified from analyzed donor data
  • Foundational insights to develop a strategic development plan that supports the organization’s future expansion goals
  • Future projections on various paths to creating long-term sustainability
  • Improved positioning to create an intentional fundraising plan


Rancho Cielo, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to investing in young people by providing diploma education, vocational training, life skills development and more, has goals of expanding its programs and creating long-term sustainability through building an endowment. However, they need more resources to accomplish both objectives, which translates to requiring more fundraising revenue. The organization has a rich historical donor database but didn’t have the key metrics and performance indicators around gifts, donors, retention and efficiency needed to design a development strategy to move the needle.

After joining Rancho Cielo as CEO in 2022, Chris Devers began working on a strategic development plan and quickly realized he needed to gain a 360-degree view of their donor portfolio to be most effective. He knew that data-visibility drives actionable insights, crucial to furthering Rancho Cielo’s development efforts.

We want to be data-informed of what we’re doing as we grow and seek new funding opportunities,” Devers says. “It’s important to analyze the data for strategic opportunities to increase gifts with new and repeat donors.

The insights produced by Armanino’s Strategic Development Outsourcing (SDO) team would help Devers structure his future development strategy and development team roles. He knew that with Armanino as an advisor, he would be able to utilize the treasure trove of donor data to gain clarity on what resource allocation would provide maximum return on investment.

The development team also wanted to gain context around how they were performing against their peers in the immediate geographic region as well as nationally. This understanding would ensure they set realistic targets as part of their growth strategy.

Finally, Devers and his team wanted a five-year development revenue forecast to bridge the gap between development and finance, ensuring both teams were in alignment and understood the unique opportunities and challenges facing the organization.


Devers engaged the Strategic Development Outsourcing experts at Armanino to help him and his team achieve the clarity needed to create a next-level development strategy. The organization embarked on Armanino’s two-phase approach to lay the groundwork needed for future growth.

In Phase I, Armanino provided an in-depth analysis of the organization’s current fundraising performance that included detailed analysis on gifts, donors, retention and efficiency. This information was then benchmarked to a peer group of nonprofit organizations based on purpose and geographic location to provide direct comparability across key performance indicators.

Next, in Phase II, the Armanino SDO experts leveraged predictive analytics and multiple methods of statistical analysis to provide Rancho Cielo insight into what resources the current donor portfolio could generate. The multiple forecasting methods provided a detailed understanding of best- and worst-case scenarios and what levers Rancho Cielo can pull for maximum results.


With Armanino’s help, the Rancho Cielo team gained the foundational understanding they needed to further their two organizational objectives — expanding programmatic activity and building a sustainable endowment. Devers credits the Armanino experts’ industry knowledge and multiple forecast models as the catalyst for his future development strategy.

He says that the insight provided will help him to maximize his impact in relationship building and expanding existing donor support.

Armanino’s work moved the whole development plan forward. We’re very busy with our event work, and this expanded donor visibility and financial analysis will help us reflect on these events, refine how we fundraise and help us decide what we need to do better and what we need to let go.
- Chris Devers, CEO, Rancho Cielo

Ultimately, Rancho Cielo is in a better position to face future challenges and opportunities head-on with a data-driven focus. By identifying their gaps and tying the financial data to fundraising, they can make strategic, data-backed decisions that maximize a lean fundraising staff and increase donor engagement.

It’s essential to understand our donor base. We need to know who they are, the frequency and size of donations, and the causes the donations are tied to — so that we can maximize our engagement, focus our efforts, and close new and retain existing donors. Armanino’s work has led to all of that.
- Chris Devers, CEO, Rancho Cielo

Need a More Effective Strategy for Increasing Donor Gift Giving?

Nonprofits often experience challenges with attracting and retaining donors, and lack of insight into your data hurts your ability to optimize fundraising efforts. Contact our Nonprofit Strategic Development Outsourcing experts today to create a data-driven strategy for growth so your organization can continue to fulfill its mission and thrive.

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