Fundraisers everywhere know that they have to work extremely hard to identify, cultivate, and solicit major donors. One of the most effective tools they have at their disposal for capital campaigns is prospect research. This is the process in which the fundraising staff evaluates the organization's contacts to identify individuals, foundations, and corporations who are most capable of giving a major gift.
Kent E. Dove, author of "Conducting a Successful Capital Campaign," offered the four main objectives fundraisers should keep in mind when doing this research:
- To identify people and their relationship with other people;
- To determine people’s interest in, associations with, and gifts to the institution;
- To discover facts about the ownership, control, influence, and wealth of people, corporations, and foundations; and,
- To reduce great quantities of information to readable, understandable, and concise reports pertinent to the current campaign.