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Prospect Research for Every Occasion

We’ve noticed a certain buzz in the sector that can only mean one thing – fundraising season is upon us! This means many of our friends and colleagues are preparing for all the wonders of fall fundraising from giving days to year-end appeals and maybe even a gala or two.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that prospect research is like that perfect fall scarf of fundraising events – it goes with everything. Okay, we may not be sipping pumpkin-flavored coffees just yet, but it’s going to be bonfires and appeals before we know it.

So, you may be wondering, what’s the best prospect research pairing?

1 Year-End Appeal Pre-Season

Prospect research is something that should happen year-round but can be really beneficial this time of year. There are several ways research can play a role right now:

  1. Tailor your mailing lists and make sure you’re sending the right message to the right audience.
  2. Review giving history from the last year-end appeal to identify who you should be reaching out to personally. (Or if there is anyone that should be increasing their level of giving!)
  3. Review similar organizations to see if any of their donors should be on your list.

WHEN: July – December

2 Giving Days 

Giving days are a great time to bring new donors into your organization, and you never know what treasures untold will come rolling through your doors. Here in Colorado we have Colorado Gives Day on December 5th and of course, Giving Tuesday on November 28th.

So, how do you wade through an overwhelming list of new names? A wealth screen, of course! Wealth screens are the most efficient way to sift through a long list of unknown prospects and come out with a prioritized list of new donors.

WHEN: Within 4 – 8 weeks following the giving day

3 Special Events (Galas, House Parties, etc.)

Special events are networking gold for an organization. Whether at a house party, a gala, or any kind of fundraiser, your donors have the opportunity to bring their friends, and with any luck recruit them to the organization.

This is where research comes into play. Luckily events tend to have a RSVP process, so researchers can get a jump-start on who is coming to the event. The information a researcher would look for is anything that would help prepare a staff or board member to meet a new prospect – including if a prospect is philanthropic, what kinds of organizations they give to, what kinds of programs they are interested in, etc.

Following the event, the researcher can work with event staff to prioritize new prospects, address any questions, and do further research to uncover gift capacity.

WHEN: 8 weeks prior, and immediately after

Thinking of having a house party? Find all the tips, tools and templates you need in our eBook – How to Have a House Party.

4 Year-End Appeal Post-Season

Nonprofit employees across the world breathe a sigh of relief come January 1st. The race is over, and hopefully won. And while you certainly deserve a break, post-season is a great time to make the most of your year-end accomplishments with prospect research.

Researchers can work through the list of donations, compare the list to previous years, and unveil critical information: who gave more, who gave less, who is new, who didn’t return.

All this information is critical in developing a fundraising plan for the New Year so that everyone in the organization can set out with a purpose.

WHEN: January – March

We know there aren’t always enough hours in the day or hands on deck. If you need support with your prospect research endeavors, email us today.

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