Fundraisers are doing the same thing now when combing through data, but it's no longer good enough to use that old-fashioned approach.
Prospecting is a much more sophisticated process these days and, according to Helen E. Brown, Jennifer Filla and Debbie Sokolov, it can pay much bigger dividends than before. Speaking during the AFP 50th International Conference on Fundraising, they said that fundraising can be improved through prospect research, and that consists of three main components: data analytics, relationship management and donor research.
Looking more closely, they are:
- Data analytics. This includes electronic screenings, data mining, donor modeling and graphing. It helps identify new prospects, segments donors and prospects quickly and efficiently, and, illustrates division/department/individual progress toward goals.
- Relationship management. This means prospect tracking. It makes sure no potential major donor gets lost between the cracks, measures activities to show the board and donors how close the organization is to its goals, and, provides continuity with donors even though staff changes.
- Donor research. This gives the organization the confidence to ask for a stretch gift, finds the links between donors, prospects and the organization, allows the organization to set up a personalized strategy around each major gift prospect, and, keeps the organization current on public events in a prospect’s world.