American Ancestors Selects Triangle-based BrightDot for New Philanthropic Fundraising Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Raleigh, N.C. – February 1, 2023 – In the past months, most Americans have heard how genealogy and DNA testing is being used as a powerful investigative tool. Although it’s been less than 40 years since legal experts first won a case based on DNA evidence, public interest in genetic genealogy continues to flourish.  

A 2022 study found that 21% of Americans have taken a DNA test in an effort to learn more about their family history. * This is a dramatic increase since a 2019 study. What people may not know is that a deep dive into your family’s paper trail can uncover even more information about your family history than only taking a DNA test. One of USA Today’s best places to do family history research is American Ancestors, the world’s largest and oldest family history society.

“The majority of American Ancestors’ members come to us to research their family history so they can build a family tree, uncover long-lost relatives, and discover who their ancestors were,” says Ryan J. Woods, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the nonprofit organization. “While not everyone in the world knows about us, we’ve been helping people discover their family history since our founding in 1845.”

Providing free access to more people to the organization’s researchers and records is an important first step. To do this, American Ancestors has chosen BrightDot, a mission-focused fundraising consultancy, to assist their team to build an organizational infrastructure supported primarily through philanthropic sources, in addition to sales and membership revenue. 

“The vision of our two enterprises is exactly the same. To bring richness and joy to the lives of individuals and families,” explains Bill Crouch, Founder and CEO of BrightDot. “Our work will allow American Ancestors to continue to hire the best researchers in the country, expand their facilities, and fund programs that will be interactive with school age children.”

As a nonprofit, American Ancestor’s mission is to impact lives through knowledge of their families, not to generate a profit. According to their leadership team, the rules of fundraising have changed so dramatically over the last decade, they required a knowledgeable, effective, and proven fundraising firm to lead them in the right direction into the next century. 

“American Ancestors wants to help anyone who asks to learn more about their family history. Philanthropic partnerships will make this dream a reality,” says Woods.  

To date, BrightDot has created the position and successfully recruited Dionne Jackson to serve as American Ancestor’s Major Gift Officer. She will focus on donor engagement, rebuilding the Board Development Committee and instituting strong cultivation strategies to engage high net worth individuals to the organization. “Philanthropic giving is essential to achieve both our missions,” concludes Crouch.


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