In 2015 more so than ever before, major gift fundraisers must craft individualized cultivation and solicitation strategies in order to best engage prospective donors and match their interests to the needs of the nonprofit. Graham-Pelton Consulting relies on DonorSearch research culled from dozens of sources to provide informed counsel that results in solid solicitation strategies and increased confidence in the person that will make the ask of the donor.Marge King, President of the InfoRich Group, says:
Using simple tools like bookmarking services and Evernote can increase a researcher’s efficiency. All prospects are unique, so finding tidbits of information about a prospect’s neighborhood or business sector may be just as unique or obscure. For example, according to IdeaPlotting, many of the most successful businesses have been started out of people’s homes or garages. While Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all now household names and you know all the wealth information about the executives, it wasn’t always this way. There’s a good chance you have donors running successful businesses that you don’t even know about. Or as another example, how many taxidermists have you researched? None? I’ve researched one in 15 years and it took some time to sift through sites related to taxidermy to find the useful sites for prospect research purposes. Using a good bookmarking service that allows user tagging or comments so that you may find that website that lists taxidermist fees or other obscure sites is key to efficiency. What is on the Internet today may be gone tomorrow. So, I also recommend using tools like Evernote to collect, organize, and store useful data like salary surveys.Chris Dawson, Senior Prospect Researcher at University Hospitals, says:
My main advice is to be aware of all the possible tools that you can use as a researcher. By that I mean that while it’s easy to pick up a subscription for a service like DonorSearch, or LexisNexis, iWave, or any of the other companies (and I always do recommend that researchers look into these companies and get what subscriptions they can), a good researcher should always be aware of other resources that may be available that they didn’t originally consider, allowing them to expand their research capabilities, often at no cost.
The Foundation Center, with locations in New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, are full of free resources to help researchers … and the Foundation Center also partners with a variety of local libraries and college libraries to have certain resources freely available there
And speaking of libraries … I can’t speak to every city library out there, but we found out almost by accident that Cleveland’s public library system had a host of research resources that were freely available to anyone with a library card. We were actually able to reduce our research budget by switching over to some of the research products that were available for free, rather than paying for them.