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By DonorSearch

Increased fundraising goals and tighter budgets dictate a solid plan of action that is mindful of your reservoir of technical, team and intelligence resources.  It’s a do-able proposition.  Really.  Here are some suggestions for making the mark while making do, along with thoughts about a sustainable future.

Inventory and Evaluate Your Technology

  • Do you have a CRM that will allow you to integrate intelligence (screening results, online giving transactions) and document the progression of your constituent relationships (interactions, gifts, volunteer service)? 
  • Do you have a main prospect research tool that can target the primary data points you need to identify, qualify, and prioritize prospects for action (philanthropy, wealth, influence)?


  • There are many affordable and free CRM options in the marketplace (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, DonorPerfect, Bloomerang…to name a few).  DonorSearch offers data integrations to 40+ CRMs–to access and analyze in real time.
  • While there are a lot of prospect research tools out there, affordability and efficiency is key.  The DonorSearch ProspectView platform offers tools that accelerate prospect identification and qualification–and the ability to build robust portfolios and detailed profiles.

Test Your Intelligence

  • Have you assembled/collected the key markers of philanthropic potential* for the majority of your top constituents so that you can segment by capacity and inclination?
  • Have you rated your prospects in terms of readiness, capacity, and affinity to your mission?
  • *Markers of Philanthropic Potential – Our research tells us that there are 6 data points that indicate giving potential: 1) Giving to You; 2) Giving to Others; 3) Foundation Trusteeship; 4) Political Giving; 5) Real Estate Holdings; 6) Business Affiliations.


  • Do a prospect screening of your database, collecting known philanthropy, wealth, and demographic data that will give you the opportunity to estimate your overall fundraising potential, and prioritize your best prospects for next steps.  It’s a cost-effective way to do research in bulk.
  • Look for a screening service that delivers top data points and ratings of potential (major, annual) and affinity (RFM).

Test the Strength of Your Data

  • Do you have accurate and complete contact information (address, email address) on your top constituents?


  • Determine who you need to have the most information on (top donors, board members, etc.), and consider a data append.
  • Clean your data BEFORE doing a prospect screening.

Affordability and Efficiency are key.  You’ve likely discovered that you already have some of the ingredients for success in place.  There are affordable options out there, you just need to take an informed approach, which is: what mix of technology and intelligence will give you the highest yield efficiently?

Making the Mark While Making Do — Strategies for Resources and Growth in tough budget times