Profile of a Georgetown Law Data User: Kristy Kowalski

Kristy Kowalski is the Senior Director for Prospect Management and Research in the Georgetown Law Office of Development.  She has been with the Law Center for 10 ½ years.  Kristy and her team support nine frontline fundraisers with prospect research, portfolio strategy and pipeline management. 

Before joining Georgetown, Kristy held positions in consumer products licensing and event management.  She earned her B.A. in Communications from Penn State.  Kristy is the former secretary of APRA Metro DC and volunteers for several organizations in southern Fairfax County, where she resides with her husband and two sons.  

As part of the International Love Data Week festivities, we sat down with Kristy to talk about her journey with Georgetown data.

1. Tell us about how you use data in your work (or in your life). What kind of data do you work with, and what kind of tools and analyses do you use to make sense of data?

As part of the Development office at the Law Center, I work with data on current and potential donors, including contact information, giving history, donation preferences, and any other relevant details that can help engage donors and cultivate relationships. 

The tools I use include the GU360 database, which is a Salesforce platform used across Georgetown’s Office of Advancement.  GU360 quickly enables me to create reports that query hundreds of different data points across constituents’ records.  GU360 offers some basic data visualization tools and reports can be exported for further analysis in tools like Power BI (my personal favorite).

2. How have you developed the skills you have? What is your favorite resource for learning new data skills?

I’ve developed the skills I have by not being afraid to fail.  It’s a lot of trial and error-don’t get frustrated and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  I belong to a prospect research professional group and they are a wealth of knowledge. There are lots of free webinars and online training programs. That’s how I taught myself Power BI.  LinkedIn learning has so many great resources, too, as well as old-fashioned “googling” when you get stuck.  One of my favorite books is Good Charts by Scott Bernato.  He breaks down what good data viz should encompass for beginners to advanced users. 

3. What’s your favorite kind of data task? Do you ever have “a-ha” moments doing data work? Do you ever find joy in data analysis? 

One of my favorite kinds of data tasks is verification.  When something seems too good to be true, I like to dig in and verify.  It can be something as simple as a donor having a very common name, which causes too many data points to be attributed to one individual. 

I find joy in data integrity more so than the analysis side of things. Ensuring we have accurate contact information, giving history and preferences is expected by our donors and alumni! 

4. What’s one number that will help people understand Georgetown better?

$3,000,000,000. That’s the goal of our current Called To Be fundraising campaign.