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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 It’s no good to submit a list of donors with outdated addresses, phone numbers, and giving histories.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.

By donorsearch

What Determines the Cost of Prospect Screening Services?

// We all want to understand why we’re paying for what we’re paying for. From an exquisite steak to concert tickets to mortgages, any time we make an investment, we want to know what we’re investing our hard earned money in. And we deserve to know.

Even though we can’t solve all the world’s mysteries of cost, we can help in one area: prospect research costs. 

Let’s unravel the mystery of the factors that determine the cost of prospect research.

We’ll unravel this mystery by answering five key questions:

  1. Who needs prospect research?
  2. How do nonprofits know if prospect research is worth the cost?
  3. What services go into the cost of prospect research services?
  4. What are the additional services?
  5. Why is prospect research worth the cost?

Click on any of the links above to jump to a particular section. Otherwise, scroll through to learn all about the factors that influence the cost of prospect research and to decide if it’s the right fit for you.

And if you need to learn more about prospect research on the whole, make sure you check out Prospect Research — The Ultimate Guide!

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3 Ways to Segment Your Donors for Prospect Research

If your nonprofit organization is conducting prospect research, you typically won’t be able to screen everyone due to time and resource constraints. One of the first major decisions you will likely need to make is which donors on your list or within your database to research. This is one of the most important decisions your organization will need to make because it plays a major role in how the results can be implemented into your fundraising activities. Think strategically about why you are performing prospect research and how you will use the results. Here are a few sample questions to ask yourself or your development staff:
  • What information does your organization already have about your donors?
  • Is your organization performing prospect screening before or after a major fundraising event?
  • Will the prospect research be used to help with a specific type of fundraising (i.e., major giving, annual giving, planned giving)?
  • Is your organization trying to identify new donors or learn more about existing donors?

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Limits of Wealth Screening

All too often when nonprofits decide they want to invest in prospect research, they focus specifically on wealth screening. While having some information is better than no information, wealth data is just one indicator of many when it comes to predicting a prospect’s likelihood of giving. Additionally, research has shown that historical charitable giving data is a much stronger predictor of future charitable giving. For this reason, nonprofits that just focus on wealth screening are losing out on valuable information about their list of prospects and missing an opportunity to get the most out of their fundraising activities.

What is wealth screening?

Wealth screening is a subset of prospect research focused on wealth indicators such as real estate ownership, stock holdings in public companies, and business affiliations.

Why is wealth screening important?

Wealth screening is an essential part of the prospect research process. Understanding a prospect’s financial situation can provide insight into:
  • Capacity to give
  • Likelihood of giving
  • Ways to segment outreach
  • Suggested donation ranges
  • Relationships with other potential prospects unfamiliar with your organization

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By donorsearch

What is Prospect Research? (Your Question, Answered!)

// You’re here because you’re contemplating a very important question:

What is prospect research?

Well, ask and you shall learn because this entire post is dedicated to helping answer that very question.

Is your organization looking to grow its pool of major gift prospects? Are you hoping to upgrade annual fund donors? Do you wish you knew more about your prospects during cultivation?

If you answered yes to any of those questions or find yourself in very similar situations, your nonprofit could likely benefit from prospect research.

So, what is it? Let’s define prospect research. 

Definition of Prospect Research

Prospect research is a technique used by nonprofit organizations to learn more about potential or existing donors’ personal backgrounds, giving histories, wealth indicators, and philanthropic motivations to evaluate a prospect’s ability to give (capacity) and warmth (affinity) toward an organization. Now that we have the definition out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. In our discussion of what prospect research is, we’re going to address four key questions: How does it work? Which types of organizations perform prospect research? What are the common prospect research terms

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