- Identify a prospect generator tool that suits your needs.
- Set specific goals for your prospect generator.
- Recognize your most valuable data.
- Craft a solicitation plan.
1. Identify a prospect generator tool that suits your needs.To find new prospective donors, nonprofit organizations will typically look toward charitable giving databases to identify prospects with proven potential and interest in supporting their cause. A number of useful databases exist to serve this need, some providing more comprehensive information than others. DonorSearch’s databases cover a full range of philanthropic, wealth, political contribution, and professional statistics that can give you a full view of each prospect as an individual, for instance. However, all this prospect data can easily become overwhelming without the proper tools to for sorting and ordering it. That’s where a prospect generator tool can help. Any good prospect generator tool features the ability to search the donor lists of other nonprofits, helping you to identify proven high-value prospects that already support your issues or causes. Check out DonorSearch’s prospect generator tool for an example of what this kind of information might look like: A great prospect generator tool will contain any number of additional features, like:
- Search functions to find proven donors by distance or zip code
- Research capabilities on the complete fundraising strategies of other organizations
- Detailed information on individual donations and nonprofits
- Export tools to complement your full research process
2. Set specific goals for your prospect generator.While the purpose of a prospect generator tool is to help you identify and organize tons of prospect data, it’s rarely a good idea to jump into prospect research without any preliminary guidelines or targets. It’s crucial that for every major campaign, you use your prospect generator tool to create a specific and strategic game-plan. The unique goals of your campaign should shape both your overall campaign strategy and the more specific ways that you target and refine your prospect list. A fundraising feasibility study can provide your organization with a clear and realistic vision of your campaign’s parameters, budget, goals, and ideal techniques. All of this information will be important to the ways that you’ll use your prospect generator tool to develop a prospect list. Next, use the results of your feasibility study to answer some crucial questions about your prospect development:
- How many current major donors can I count on for this project?
- How many new major donors will I need to attract?
- What range of giving will help me most efficiently reach my funding goal?
- What kind of time constraints are there on my donor prospecting process?
- Which of my donors or prospects will be interested in this specific campaign?
3. Recognize your most valuable data.Knowing exactly what you’re looking for is pretty much essential to ever finding it, right? The same applies to your prospect research and how you’ll need to use your prospect generator. The nuances of your goals and the unique elements of your campaign will completely determine which specific data points will be the most useful to your prospect development process. Check out our ultimate guide to prospect research if you need some direction about how exactly you can better refine your targets and goals to make the smartest prospecting decisions. Remember that a great prospect generator and access to comprehensive prospect databases will provide you with a wealth of data points, including:
- Prospect location and property records
- Complete giving history
- Details about the organizations the prospect has supported
- Political contribution history and details
4. Craft a solicitation plan.Once you’ve used your prospect generator to identify and filter your prospects, it’s crucial that you develop some effective solicitation strategies. You already used your data to find learn more about your prospects as individuals, so your solicitation plans should be equally individualized, too. There are a number of donor and prospect communication tools out there, which, in combination with your strong prospect data resources, can pinpoint your solicitation efforts like never before. By using your prospect data and knowledge of other organizations your prospect has supported, you can make some inferences about the most convenient ways to communicate with them. Always try to tailor your solicitation plan to the individual prospect. There are a number of ways that a prospect would likely prefer to be contacted, like:
- Through email
- Through a personal appeal letter
- In-person at an event
- In a private meeting