// Prospect research can seem daunting and overwhelming. There are a ton of resources out there, but there is not a lot of guidance.
Maybe you’re ready to get started with prospect screening, or maybe you’ve been in the game for a while and you’re curious about any tools you might have missed. Either way, this list will help.
Below you’ll find a compilation of 23, yes, 23, game-changing prospect research tools and resources.
For your convenience, we’ve divided all 23 prospect research tools and resources into categories of three.
These 23 suggestions will help fill and organize your prospect research tool belt.
Click on any of the links below to jump to a particular category on the tools and resources list.
Category A: DonorSearch Resources
At DonorSearch, our goal is to help nonprofits get the most out of their wealth screenings and prospect research efforts. Below is a list of the top seven types of information that should be included in your next wealth screening:
Previous Charitable Donations to Your Nonprofit
Pro tip: The donors most likely to donate in the future are those who have =&0=&
Radio is a cultural stalwart. It has outlasted its naysayers.
When television came along people thought radio would disappear. It survived.
As the internet rose to prominence, people tried to knock radio once again. It survived.
Listeners can now find their favorite radio stations in the car, on the computer, and even on their phones.
Radio has diversified itself as it has grown, and public radio stations are no exceptions.
People say that ignorance is bliss. What about when you are no longer ignorant? That bliss disappears in a hurry.
Maybe you’ve been blissfully unaware of prospect research, but now you know. Or, you’ve known about it, but haven’t made screening prospects a priority. Either way, you’re desperate to make up for lost time and excited by the fundraising opportunities.
You’ve decided to catch up quickly and you are ready to hire a prospect researcher. One problem though, you’re new to the entire field of prospect research and don’t know where to start with your recruitment.
We’ve got you covered!
Below is a four-point breakdown of the development position of prospect researcher.
Point #1: What is a prospect researcher?
Walk before you run, right? Well, you can’t exactly recruit a prospect researcher if you don’t know what one is.
Just as prospect research varies by organization type, the position is going to change slightly from organization to organization.
In the context of this discussion, and a larger understanding of the role, a prospect researcher is a full time member of a fundraising/development team who provides deep background on high quality prospects.
More specifically, the researcher will be looking into prospects’ histories with the organization, motivations for philanthropy, and recommendations for solicitations.
Let’s unpack that definition a bit.
The researcher will be responsible for taking potential major donors and delving into their backgrounds with your cause and philanthropy in general. The staffer will then take what he learns and curate the ultimate solicitation approach for each researched prospect.
Prospect researchers should be major gift gurus.
Dedicated prospect researchers are most commonly hired by educational institutions. Organizations with full time researchers are hiring those individuals because they’re seeking a good return on investment.
At a large, educational institution, one major gift acquired by a prospect researcher can pay that employee’s salary for the year and then some.
Point #2: What will be a prospect researcher’s key responsibilities, duties, and activities?
A prospect researcher will be part of your development team. We’ve already discussed the general outline of this point in the definition of the role in point 1.
This section will serve as a multi-part breakdown of the various responsibilities, duties, and activities associated with a prospect researcher.
This list consists of researcher tasks commonly included in job descriptions for the profession.
Using a broad spectrum of sources, the employee researches, organizes, and evaluates a prospect’s financial capacity, ability to give, willingness to give, charitable interests, and connection to the organization
Produces in-depth, well-written reports on prospects based on a combination of data from the donor database, available financial records, real estate ownership, and other markers of high quality donors
Writes frequent prospect briefings for the use of the development team
Implements new research techniques as they arise, striving to design the ultimate prospect research methodology
Works with other development staff to improve the organization’s fundraising strategies
May provide general support to development staff and work on special projects when called for
The job description is going to change based on the type of organization hiring the prospect researcher and the make-up of the staff already in place.
Some prospect researchers will be the only ones on staff. Others might be part of a team that has even more additional prospect research tools at its disposal.
Point #3: What are the respective recommended education and experience levels for prospect researchers?