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23 Game-Changing Prospect Research Tools & Resources

// 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

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By chris

Donor Stewardship Expert Advice Featuring Bill!

Looking for donor stewardship strategies? NonProfitEasy has put together a list of stewardship advice featuring Bill Tedesco, CEO of DonorSearch, among 28 other nonprofit experts. Bill emphasizes the importance of engaging donors of all levels, advising that: “Prospect research can help your front-line fundraisers identify which donors have the capacity to give a major gift and a history of past philanthropy. This will enable your development team to ensure that those major donors receive excellent stewardship to keep them engaged for years to come!”

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By chris

Expert Advice for Making the Most of Prospect Research

Whether your organization is a seasoned veteran with prospect research or a wide-eyed rookie, you should seek ways to get the most out of your investment. DonorSearch’s team has compiled advice from twenty fundraising experts on how nonprofits can make the most of prospect research this year at your organization.

Use tools and available resources to save time and increase efficiency

Make sure your development team is taking advantage of the various tools and resources available to conduct prospect research. New applications and prospect screening services can improve the effectiveness of your prospect research efforts. Also, explore the free resources available to nonprofits to see how they can supplement your fundraising activities.  Elizabeth S. Zeigler, President of Graham-Pelton Consulting, says:
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.

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