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By donorsearch

Prospect Generators: 4 Essential Tips to Find New Donors

As you begin the prospect research and development process, you might find yourself becoming overwhelmed both with the possibilities and the magnitude of the task at hand. Although it’s never easy work, there are a number of effective prospect development strategies you can follow to ensure the success of your major campaigns. One core strategy is to use a prospect generator when building your initial prospect list.  Prospect generators can be invaluable tools for your nonprofit’s donor prospecting process. By both saving you time and streamlining prospect identification, a generator tool can help drive your campaigns to unprecedented levels of success. If you think that a prospect generator tool might be a good idea for your organization, check out these 4 essential tips for choosing and using one:
  1. Identify a prospect generator tool that suits your needs.
  2. Set specific goals for your prospect generator.
  3. Recognize your most valuable data.
  4. Craft a solicitation plan.
Prospect generators are often the most important element of a successful development strategy. Read on for some crucial insights on how these tools can benefit your organization’s next major campaign!  

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
Imagine how you could streamline your prospect research and development process with access to this kind of information. Best of all, with a prospect generator tool all this data will be organized and searchable, maximizing the efficiency of your entire prospect identification process. When choosing a generator tool for your prospect research and development process, always look for the functions listed above. Depending on the exact scope of your capital campaign or other major project, you might find yourself needing access to more data and functionality than you initially assumed. When it comes to prospect research, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Find a prospect generator that can cover all your potential needs.  

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?
Now, let the answers to these questions guide the ways that you use your prospect generator tool to build and refine your prospect list. As with any significant challenge, setting specific goals for your prospect research and development is key to starting off on the right foot. A great prospect list can become an invaluable road map for your campaign by clearly designating your most important targets and key back-ups. By fully understanding both what kind of prospects you’ll need and also what you’ll need from those prospects, you can ensure that you’ll make the most effective use of your prospect generator tool and hit your targets quickly.  

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
Fully understanding your own campaign goals will help you to better understand the exact kinds of prospects you need to target, which in turn will guide your entire research process. Since a prospect generator will grant you access to plenty of data, it’s essential that your organization take full advantage of the opportunities this presents without becoming overwhelmed with possibilities. Do this by using your generator tools to identify prospects whose demonstrated interests align with your own campaign and fundraising histories. The alignment of prospect interest and your own nonprofit’s history will be reflected in a specific data point or two. Identify these most valuable metrics, use them to filter your results in your prospect generator and search tools, then quickly build an effective prospect list.  

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
It’s important that you never take a one-size-fits-all approach to your solicitation strategies. For instance, you might know that one of your core prospects is a corporate executive who supports another organization that regularly hosts large fundraising auctions. A busy executive might be unlikely to respond to every email or voicemail, but you might be able to contact them in-person at the next charity auction and set up a meeting in the future. Alternately, a retiree philanthropist might love the opportunity to share a dialogue on email or over the phone prior to discussing specifics, while the director of a grant-giving foundation prefers to be contacted through official application channels. Initiating a donation conversation with a new prospect for the first time can be difficult, but with the wealth of information provided by a prospect generator and other databases, you can craft the most effective solicitation plan possible. A prospect generator tool is perhaps the smartest investment you can make in your organization’s fundraising abilities.  Targeting your research and building refined prospect lists early in the process allows you to save invaluable time and resources throughout your entire campaign. Prospect databases and generators are an essential component of streamlining your donor prospecting process and reaching new levels of success in your fundraising! Check out these additional resources for more information on capital campaigns and the value of effective prospect research: Our top 5 Steps to Building a Prospect List for Your Next Capital Campaign. With or without a prospect generator, it’s essential that you build an effective prospect list for every campaign. The Top 3 Political Contributions Search Tools from Double the Donation.

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By donorsearch

Fundraising Strategy: The Gift Range Chart [With Templates!]

The success of your fundraising campaign relies on whether or not your nonprofit has put in the time to develop a comprehensive, data-driven fundraising strategy. With the right fundraising plan in place, the more likely you’ll be able to extend the right asks to reach likely donors and achieve your fundraising goals. The secret to an excellent fundraising strategy? Consider making the most of a gift range chart. Commonly used during the feasibility study phase of capital campaigns, gift range charts are useful tools for fundraising campaigns of any size. With this simple tool, you’ll learn exactly what it will take to successfully reach your fundraising goals.  Even better? Your gift range chart can show your nonprofit where you need to improve in your fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy. Before your campaign begins, you’ll be able determine the optimal size of your asks, the breakdown of your ideal prospects, and which donors you should be engaging. In this post, we’ll help you get the most out of your gift range chart by discussing:
  1. Why you should use a gift range chart.
  2. How to structure your gift range chart.
  3. DonorSearch’s gift range chart template.
Are you ready to learn how to use gift range charts to bring your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy to the next level? Let’s get started!

1. Why you should use a gift range chart.

Without question, gift range charts should be a part of your fundraising strategy arsenal (if they aren’t already). Despite their deceptively simple design, gift range charts can tell you a lot about your fundraising strategy, especially if your nonprofit is looking to embark on a capital campaign. (Looking to sharpen your fundraising strategy? Consider working with a fundraising consulting firm to revamp the way your nonprofit raises money for your cause.) Specifically, gift range charts can let your nonprofit know: =&0=& =&1=&

By chris

The 3-Step Guide to Handling a Prospect Researcher Staff Transition

Article written by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President at DonorSearch. Heraclitus said it best when he stated, “Change is the only constant.” Although it is not always welcome, the sooner we accept and embrace change, the better our lives are. That platitude, though easier to take in theory than practice, certainly applies to the way that organizations handle staff transitions. Nonprofits and educational institutions, just like any other type of employer, have to deal with important staff members leaving and the ramifications of those exits. Putting plans in place to handle and account for the transition of employees, especially senior staffers and leaders, is critical to the ongoing success of an organization. Staff turnover is inevitable. Transitional success is a matter of preparing for and adjusting to the change. For a nonprofit, one of the most valuable roles within the organization is that of the prospect researcher. When it is time to transition to a new researcher, you’ll want to be ready to make the process as smooth as possible.

The best approach to handling a prospect researcher staff transition follows three steps.

These steps cover the entire cycle of the transition. Step one should occur before the prospect researcher leaves the position, step two will happen as the transition is occurring, and step three is to be performed once the turnover is complete.

Step 1: Implement Standards and Systems

This is a preemptive step. It is helpful in general and especially useful when your organization is experiencing change. Standards and systems make a position transferable. Prospect research is an extensive process. On any given day, your current prospect researcher could be:
  • Putting together prospect profiles.
  • Ranking prospects according to giving affinity and capacity.
  • Determining the right ask amount for a certain donor.
  • Assisting the fundraisers with solicitation strategies.
  • And much more.

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By chris

The Quintessential Guide to Interviewing a Prospect Researcher

Ah, the tricky business of interviewing. It is difficult in any field, as both the interviewer and the interviewee. The person doing the interviewing has the challenging job of balancing selling the position and assessing the skill-set of the potential employee. And, well, we all feel for the potential employee. Who hasn’t arrived way too early for an interview only to sit in your car for twenty minutes until you’re ‘appropriately’ early? Or, who doesn’t leave an interview and then just play the discussion ad infinitum for the foreseeable future? Okay, so maybe I’m projecting my own anxieties, at least slightly. But, truthfully, interviews and the hiring process can just be incredibly stressful for all involved. If you’re looking to hire a prospect researcher, you want to ensure you’re hiring the best candidate. Prospect research can be hugely beneficial for fundraising organizations, but those organizations need to have the right resources and people in the place to help steer their efforts in the right direction. This guide is designed to lead you through the prospect researcher interviewing process. Approach the interview with a solid knowledge of what the researcher’s place will be in your organization and what will be expected of him or her, so that you can best cater your questions to determining if he or she is the right fit.

Prior to the Interview

You’ll want to assess the current state of your organization’s prospect research before any candidates walk through the door. Think through the following questions:
  • Do you already have a system of prospect research in place?
  • Will the new staffer be establishing a new system?
  • Who will the researcher be working with?
  • What tools will you provide to aid the position (i.e., services from a prospect screening company, like DonorSearch)?
Once you’re apprised of your current research situation, you should then go about curating a prospect researcher qualities wish list. Think of this list as a driving outline of a prospect researcher job posting.

Creating a Prospect Researcher Qualities “Wish List”

These preferences will vary depending on your answers to the above questions, but, in general, contenders for the job should be:
  • Researchers first and foremost (if this is an entry-level position, look for evidence of research skills in academia).
  • Inquisitive and willing to chase down donor data.
  • Proficient with databases.
  • Effective oral and written communicators.
  • Comfortable multi-tasking.
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Understand the inner-workings of fundraising.
  • Discreet and capable of handling confidential and personal information.
When you know what your organization needs from a prospect researcher, it’s time to get to interviewing.

The Interview

For the purposes of this discussion we’ll be breaking our recommended interview questions into three categories:
  1. General
  2. Place in the Team
  3. Prospect Research
Once we get to prospect research, we’ll cover both questions for entry-level candidates and those applying for higher-level positions.

#1: General

Every good interviewer needs to do a basic personality and general assessment of the interviewee. These are what we’d consider the universal questions slightly skewed to nonprofits.
  • What appeals to you about the role?
  • What is your understanding of the position?
  • Why do you want to work for a nonprofit?
  • How would you explain our mission to a potential donor?
  • Where do you see yourself in a year, three years, five years, etc.?
  • Who is your professional role model?
  • What nonprofit, besides this one, do you think has an impressive fundraising model?
  • Tell us about a time when a professional project went badly and how you handled it.
  • How would you handle a disagreement with your supervisor?
This list could go on and on. Try to find a good mix of easier questions, designed as a point of entry, and more specific, challenging ones. It also never hurts to throw in one or two fun ones that reveal more about the applicant’s personality — like, what’s your favorite television show?

#2: Place in the Team

Whoever you hire is going to be working closely with your entire development staff. The new staff member might have other prospect researchers to work with or have to coordinate with communications staff. A successful nonprofit runs like an engine, multiple parts working side by side, fulfilling a common goal. A prospect researcher can’t simply be database bound, head in a computer all day. Researchers have to have good chemistry with your team. You’ll need to dedicate a line of questions towards this, such as:
  • Tell us about a time when you had a bad experience working with a team.
  • Tell us about a time when you had a great experience working with a team.
  • How do you balance the needs of multiple people?
  • Would you consider yourself someone who is better as a team member or team leader?
  • How do you prioritize your own tasks and tasks others need assistance with?
Later in the interviewing process, maybe during a second interview, you could introduce the candidate to a few of the staffers whom he or she would be working with daily and get feedback from them, in addition to the supervisor. Additionally, you could have the candidate perform a project where he or she has to work with other members of your team. This allows other people to get to know the candidate a bit better, and you’ll be able to see how the candidate interacts with your existing team.

#3: Prospect Research

These questions are the main course of the interview. You’ll be asking somewhat different questions of those applying to an entry-level versus a higher-level position, but in the end you’re looking for similar qualities and skills. A) Entry-Level Position
  • What is your understanding of the position and the role you would play as an employee?
  • What past experiences have you had with fundraising?
  • What drew you to prospect research?
  • How do you usually perform research, say, for an academic paper?
  • How would you handle prioritizing two important tasks?
  • Do you consider yourself more of a data-driven and detail-oriented or a big picture researcher and analyst?
B) Higher-Level Position
  • Tell us about one success and one failure you’ve had in the past regarding prospect research.
  • What resources do you typically use to perform prospect research?
  • Are you comfortable working in a predetermined system and methodology, or do you have your own established process that you like to stick to?
  • Do you expect to work in a team or individual environment?
  • What is your formula for identifying a top donor prospect?
  • What do you consider to be the most telling details you can discover about a prospect?
The interviewing process for a prospect researcher should not be all too different from any of your other staff positions, especially those in development. As long as you enter the process with a solid understanding of where your prospect research efforts are and where you’d like to see them go, you’ll be able to appropriately evaluate if an interviewee is a good candidate. If you’re new to the field of prospect research, or you’d like a refresher, check out our ultimate guide. Even if you’re hiring a prospect researcher to fill in for your own knowledge gap in the field, you’ll need to know background information in order to properly vet those applying for the job. Bonus tip: Check out this video to learn more about hiring people to work in your nonprofit.

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By chris

The Art of Writing a Prospect Researcher Job Description

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.
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Writes frequent prospect briefings for the use of the development team
  4. Implements new research techniques as they arise, striving to design the ultimate prospect research methodology
  5. Works with other development staff to improve the organization’s fundraising strategies
  6. 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?

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By chris

Prospect Research for Greek Organizations

Many young people have a stereotyped vision of college that not only includes, but mandates, fraternities and sororities. While some colleges thrive without prominent Greek scenes, fraternities and sororities add personality and school spirit to school identities. They are organizations aimed at helping young people to develop into intelligent, rational, involved citizens. Greek organizations need to fundraise to keep providing students with vibrant, enriching social experiences. Thanks to prospect research, fundraising is made a little easier.

Why Greek organizations need prospect research

Membership fees only go so far. Fraternities and sororities have houses to maintain, events to host, and various other expenses. Like other nonprofits, budgets need to be balanced in order for these organizations to run at full capacity. Greek organizations are social communities, but they’re also complicated enterprises with many moving parts. While donations of all sizes can help, major gifts provide significant sums that can help fundraising campaigns succeed. Finding new major gift prospects is tough work, but it gets easier when you have prospect research to reveal the philanthropic and wealth indicators that matter. Download our free white paper on Major Giving: Prospects and Approaches.

How prospect research is different for Greek organizations

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By donorsearch

How does prospect research vary by nonprofit cause?

The first little pig needed straw. The second little pig required sticks. The third little pig sought bricks. And that big bad wolf? He needed enough breath to blow all those houses down. Depending on who you are, what you need to succeed varies. No two types of nonprofits seek the same prospects. An education-based nonprofit won’t build its fundraising campaign from the same prospects as a healthcare organization, which will differ in prospects from fraternities and sororities. Like a home, you build your life out of the materials at hand, and you hammer away at your work until something stands upright that you can be proud of. While the various types of nonprofits use prospect research to unearth similar information, they’re doing so for different types of donors and for a wide range of causes. We’ll talk about eight different nonprofits that use prospect research:
  1. K-12 Education Organizations
  2. Higher Education Institutions
  3. Healthcare Organizations
  4. Greek Organizations
  5. Arts and Cultural Nonprofits
  6. Community Foundations
  7. Faith-Based Organizations
  8. Advocacy Groups, Social Service Organizations, and Environmental Groups
jQuery(window).on("hashchange", function () { window.scrollTo(window.scrollX, window.scrollY - 200); }); Keep reading as look deeper at these types of organizations and how they can use prospect research to their advantage.

K-12 Education Organizations

Unless they’re prodigy pop stars or the lucky inheritors of a family fortune, young adults tend not to have the funds to give major gifts. This leaves their parents as the prime major gift prospects. Each year, new students arrive, old ones leave, and parents come and go with their children. It’s important for schools to screen their lists of parents at certain times throughout the year in order to identify who to pursue with their limited fundraising resources. Good screening times include:
  • the beginning of the school year
  • the end of the year around graduation
  • in between semesters
It’s important to space out screening prospects so as not to overwhelm your fundraising team with too much information at once. Most parents remain involved with schools for multiple years, so time is on your side, but you want to make the most of it.

Higher Education Institutions

As with K-12 schools, parents are a primary focus, but they’re not the only focus. Alumni networks are filled with wealthy folks eager to support their alma maters. Many colleges and universities use telefunds to reach out to their alumni networks, and telefunds are most efficient when they organize prospects according to certain criteria, such as a specific calling pool for major gift prospects. This allows schools to keep track of their most important donors and call them at the right times of the year with specific ask strategies. If you’re interested in learning more expert advice on how colleges and universities can raise funds, check out our university fundraising guide. Keep in mind that reaching out to current students and recent graduates may not be fruitful, especially in terms of landing major gifts, but it’s important to plant the philanthropy seed early. That way, when these people do make big bucks they remember to give back to the place that set them on the right path. Learn more about prospect research for education-based organizations.

Healthcare Organizations

People get sick, people feel better, and people are constantly coming and going from hospitals. This leaves healthcare organizations with little time to discover who among the masses is a major gift prospect. Hospitals can bulk screen patients daily, weekly, or monthly, according to their schedules. It’s important to stay on top of the constant influxes and departures of patients, as cultivating relationships takes time. You don’t want to miss out on your chance to begin dialogues with the people most likely to give large donations. Many nonprofit hospitals run grateful patient programs, which consist of teams of doctors, fundraisers, and other staff who use prospect research to pursue donations from the major gift prospects either staying in or recently departed from their hospitals. Grateful patient programs work best with daily patient screenings, as you don’t want to miss out on a single opportunity to pursue a donation

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By donorsearch

4 Ways to Keep the Data in your Donor Database Clean

DonorSearch’s blog is dedicated to covering prospect screening and other fundraising-related topics, yet our readers and customers often ask how they can keep their donor databases clean. So we reached out to Steven Shattuck at Bloomerang to share a few strategies for how nonprofits can keep their donor databases clean.  A nonprofit can never reach their full fundraising potential unless their donor database has clean, actionable data. Making sure that data is accurate when it’s first inputted is one challenge. Keeping it that way is quite another. If you ever want accurate prospect screening results or useful reports, you must keep your donor database clean and tidy. Here are four tips:

Tip #1: Document your data entry procedures and review them often

Many donor databases fail to reach their true potential simply because there is no defined process for data entry. Documenting and sticking to one universal process will ensure that all data is formatted consistently, and will protect your fundraising efforts in the event of staff turnover. Because organizations evolve as they grow, it’s important to re-examine your processes every once in a while (at least annually). You may have an obsolete procedure, or find that there’s a slightly better way to do something. Don’t be afraid to change if it increases your productivity!

Tip #2: Run an NCOA at least once a year

Running an NCOA (National Change of Address) process will ensure that your constituent’s contact information in your donor database is up-to-date and accurate. The NCOA database contains data for all change of address requests filed by US postal customers in the past 48 months. Running an NCOA process will compare the contact info found in your database with the info found in the NCOA database. It’s always a good idea to run an NCOA a few months before a big direct mail appeal. 17% of Americans move each year, and running an NCOA is a requirement to qualify for USPS bulk mailing rates.

Tip #3: Have multiple people in the organization use the database

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By donorsearch

How to Prepare for Prospect Screening

Pirates seeking buried treasure don’t want to open up the long-sought chest and discover baby booties. You’re not a pirate, but you want your search to end in gold. Gold being an extensive, accurate list of high quality prospects. Know how to unearth precise prospect data, so that, when you stick your shovel in the ground, you strike prospect gold. All journeys begin well before the big discovery, and preparation can play an equally crucial role in both obtaining and implementing the results of your search.

Clean Up Data

Try to sail a ship with a leak in the hull or dig a hole with a broken shovel. Operations work best when all the parts are in proper working condition. Proper prospect research begins with accurate donor data. It’s no good to submit a list of donors with outdated addresses, phone numbers, and giving histories. You’ll receive results, but they may not be as accurate and as detailed as possible. Submitting clean data makes the rest of the treasure hunt clear sailing. Make sure to clean up your donor database ahead of time to ensure you receive the most accurate results to pinpoint the best prospects.

Provide Data Ahead of Time

Not only does clean data help you, but it aids your prospect research company. At DonorSearch, our data is an industry-best 90% accurate, but no data set is perfect. From philanthropic histories to wealth markers to personal interests, no one knows your donors as well as you. Submitting donor data before your screening takes place will increase screening accuracy and add additional detail to your donor profiles. For example, if you supply a history of past gifts then those donations can be linked to specific instances in DonorSearch’s database. Without prior information, some gifts might get left out or go unaccounted for. When you provide donor information you receive search results with higher quality assurance. However, regardless of the information you submit, DonorSearch provides comprehensive prospect profiles. The information you supply merely helps to improve the results.

Try a Test File

Hoisting a sail requires the crew knowing how to attach the sail to the mast, adjusting the heading for the wind, and trimming both the jib sheets and the mainsail. Details matter, and you want to know how to use your prospect research in order to implement it correctly. DonorSearch screens 200 records for free, so you can get an idea of the service we provide. Submitting a test file is great way to try us out with minimal risk. It will help you to get familiarized with a our suite of tools, research categories, and work processes. Test files also include a free walk-through, where a dedicated sales representative will explain your results over the phone and give you the opportunity to ask any questions. You’ll get familiarized with DonorSearch’s formatting, the data we screen for, the additional services we provide, how our scoring system works, and much more.

Review Your Screening Results for Accuracy

Once your results are in hand, how do you verify their accuracy? DonorSearch includes a quality score for each prospect that indicates the confidence level of a name matching to donor records. It is a threshold indicator, and anything above 17 equates to a high level of confidence. DS rating and RFM total are other DonorSearch ratings systems that ensure profile accuracy. Manual review is not necessary to receive accurate results, but, for quality assurance, DonorSearch employs in-house prospect researchers to spend hours manually reviewing your top prospects, and we’ll do your first 100 for free. This assessment process both eliminates extra time your staff would spend reviewing screening results and raises the typical 70% profile accuracy to results that are an industry-best 90-95% accurate. Manual reviews provide an additional layer of accuracy and analysis to your search results, so you receive the most detailed profiles. Additional manual reviews beyond the first 100 can be discussed with a DonorSearch sales representative. There is gold in your donor lists, and it’s easier to find with accurate prospect research. If you’re new to prospect research or want to learn how to do more then schedule a demo with DonorSearch today.
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