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Summertime is Prospect Research Time!

Our research guru, Meghan Jamison, spices up our blog with her “Ah-Ha!” tips on prospect research. We’re always excited to share her expertise and learning with you!

Whenever I’m networking with other nonprofit professionals and share that I’m a prospect researcher, I get an exasperated “oh, that would be so great to have in our organization…we just don’t have the time.” When is the perfect time for prospect research? The reality is, there isn’t a perfect time. Your to-do list is always going to be overly full, and there will always be issues that just have to take precedence…or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

But by putting off prospect research, you’re leaving money on the table, plain and simple.

It takes time, but imagine uncovering information that could turn a $10,000 gift into a $100,000 gift. Wouldn’t that be worth a couple of extra hours in your day?

Prospect research is something fundraisers should do all year, but summer is the perfect time to ramp up your due diligence. The (hopefully) slower pace gives you the time you need to research your top prospects and get the information you need to make the most informed and appropriate ‘ask’.

Summer is also the perfect time for research because it is right before the “giving season”. Don’t wait until Fall to get your lists in order:

  • Evaluate your major gift list. Do you have the right people in your major gift file? Who is ready for an upgraded “ask”? Who has the capacity to do more? Who isn’t responding and should be taken off the list?
  • Identify your middle donors. Are there donors who are giving at a lower level, but should be cultivated for higher levels of giving? They may not be ready for major gifts, but these are your fabulous middle donors!
  • Segment your annual appeal lists. This may not sound like prospect research, but it is super important to do the analytic work before the annual appeal goes out. Be sure you are sending the right message to the right audience.

To do this analysis, you’ll need to look at three things: RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value), stats around engagement, and prospect research:

RFM: This is the data that tells you how recent, how often, and how much your donors have given you. The best prospects have made gifts recently, have given often, and are giving more.

Engagement data: This is information about how the prospects interacted with your organization. This doesn’t have to be giving. It could be volunteering, attending events, or even calling with questions.

Prospect Research: For your major donors and prospects, you are going to want to take a deeper dive to see what other organizations they have given to and what their capacity is to give more to your great cause. 

So much to do – but it’s worth every minute you put into it! Don’t wait until the frenzy of year-end fundraising starts – get started right now!

And don’t be afraid to ask for help! Front Range Source offers a variety of research services that can help boost fundraising at your organization. Ask us how you can save BIG right now with our summer sale on prospect research.

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