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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Prospect Research: Tips for Better Fundraising | Part 2

In our previous blog post, we covered the basics of getting started with prospect research, how to clean up your data, and the importance of corporate giving programs.

In this second part, we’ll offer additional tips and insights on how to successfully implement prospect research and leverage it for better fundraising.

These strategies include:

  1. Consider automating the process.

  2. Don’t just focus on wealth data.

  3. Manually verify your research.

  4. Implement your findings.

Using these strategies can help you make the most of your fundraising outreach and bring in more revenue so you can continue serving your mission. 

1. Consider automating the process.

Prospect research can be an overwhelming process for even the savviest of fundraising experts, which is why automating your process by using a CRM with prospect research functionality can be a smart move.

However, you don’t want to make hasty decisions and entrust your donor data with just any tool. There are a few qualities to look for in a strong prospect research software:

  • Extensive proprietary databases. 

  • Regularly updated tools. 

  • Ability to integrate with other donor management software.

Integrating your prospect research tools with your CRM allows both platforms to draw from a centralized pool of data, resulting in comprehensive, organized profiles for donors and prospects—meaning it’s a win-win!

2. Don’t just focus on wealth data.

Wealth data gives insight into a prospect’s financial ability to donate. It examines publicly accessible financial indicators, such as real estate investment, business affiliations, and stock ownership to gauge a prospect’s overall financial wealth. 

While a comprehensive prospect screening effort should definitely take wealth data into account, that’s only one factor. Prospect research relies on creating a complete profile of potential donors, and that must include both financial data and philanthropic indicators.

Expanding your search to factors outside of finance gives you a stronger overall profile of potential donors. For example, a candidate with a great financial ability to give but zero documented interest in any type of nonprofit giving is unlikely to contribute to your cause. 

3. Manually verify your research.

It’s vital that you verify your prospect research findings before acting on any new discoveries.  Something as simple as a misspelled name can skew your results and lead you to solicit a donation from someone who isn’t much of a prospect at all! Not to mention, it can create a terrible impression for your prospect.

While checking each datapoint for accuracy may seem tedious at the moment, it will ultimately save you time on the backend correcting errors. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to work with prospect research databases and matching gift tools that work to keep their own datasets updated and accurate.

4. Implement your findings.

Now that you’ve automated the process to consider both wealth and warmth factors and verified the information you’ve collected, it’s time to put your new discoveries to work!

When analyzing your newly acquired prospect research data, consider candidates for the different types of donations that you’d like to pursue:

Soliciting each gift requires an adjusted fundraising strategy, and having your prospect research background is a great way to match up potential donors with the best types of donation.

While fundraising is an essential part of nonprofit work, there’s no reason you should expend unnecessary resources doing so! Once you implement these prospect research tips, you’ll be fundraising more efficiently in no time.

To read Part 1 of Prospect Research: Tips for Better Fundraising, click here.

Written by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

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