Ignite key to growth: Civic data

In a world where data has increasingly become king, a fast-growing Cincinnati-based consulting firm for nonprofits and foundations has greatly expanded its crown.

Scott Provancher’s Ignite Philanthropy has acquired Will Lester’s Blue Fox LLC. Terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2017 by 20-year arts data veteran Lester, Blue Fox studied patron and customer behavior to uncover actionable data-driven insights and delivered data analytics customized to each of its clients. After operating his own philanthropic consulting firm since 2013, Provancher acquired Ignite from local fundraising legend Susan Ingmire in late 2016. Now, Lester will run a data division for Ignite, continuing the work the two organizations have done together informally for the last five years.

“With the acquisition of Blue Fox,” said Provancher, “we are doubling down on leveraging civic data to inform and support the continued success of our clients and the nonprofit sector as a whole.”

Lester pioneered an array of sector-specific data services while leading Blue Fox. Those services now available from Ignite will include database list management and segmentation, demographic research and customer profile modeling, trend analysis and response tracking, donor and patron behavior analysis, customer loyalty modeling, nonprofit sector research and trend analysis, impact measurement and predictive modeling.

While it already serves some of the largest and most important nonprofits in the region, the additional services should help Ignite more quickly scale its nonprofit services to become a centralized fundraising department for multiple nonprofits.

Ignite raised $70 million for its nonprofit clients in 2021 and managed another $11 million in grantmaking for its private and family foundation clients.

A New York native and classically trained percussionist, Provancher has leveraged his experience as an orchestra executive director in Louisville and an arts fundraising professional at ArtsWave in Cincinnati and then in Charlotte, N.C., before returning to Cincinnati to manage the $143 million renovation fundraising campaign for Music Hall.