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By DonorSearch

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. Let’s walk through a few components of prospect research for fraternities and sororities:
  1. Why Greek organizations need prospect research
  2. How prospect research is different for Greek organizations
  3. Who to screen in your prospect research
  4. How to screen prospects for your Greek organization
  5. When to screen for prospective donors
Nonprofits and other organizations of all sizes regularly use prospect research to identify their next big supporters. Your fraternity or sorority should be doing the same at every stage from recruitment to alumni management! Let’s dive in:

1. 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. Fraternity and sorority financial management is an important component of the health of your chapter! 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 for more context.

2. How prospect research is different for Greek organizations

Hospitals have patients that come and go. Museums have members that have to renew after certain amounts of time. Greek organizations have massive alumni bases from which they can find new major gift prospects. The beauty of a Greek organization’s prospect pool is that alumni are alumni for a lifetime. Just like for universities, this permanent prospect pool allows fraternities and sororities to be more patient with fundraising. Urgency is a must, but not everyone has to be researched at the same time. Prospects can be segmented into groups and researched in intervals. The ability to break donors up into categories helps Greek organizations tackle vast prospect pools. Recent graduates are unlikely to give, and even if they do their donations tend to be minimal. Knowing the time since graduation and the depth of affiliation of alumni with your Greek organization allows you to pick out people to research who are more apt to give large sums. Prospect research will also help to find information on when people give, so you can pitch to people at the appropriate time of year. Learn more prospect research fundraising strategies.

3. Who to screen in your prospect research

Not everyone is a major gift prospect, and you can waste a lot of time and money conducting research on every alumnus. A large piece of successful prospect research is planning before conducting any research. A good research plan details:
  • The indicators you’ll be looking for in a major gift prospect
  • How much time and money will be allocated to obtaining information on any one prospect
  • Strategies to store and share prospect research
  • How you’ll approach prospects once they’re identified
Not all alumni are dedicated alumni. Likewise, people lose touch with the organization and their commitments wane. It’s up to you to find the alumni who hold their Greek experience in high regard and wish to promote the experience for future generations. Fraternities and sororities should combine prospect research with known levels of engagement with their organizations:
  • Was the prospect actively engaged in the fraternity or sorority?
  • Was the prospect a president or governing board member of the organization?
  • How many years was the prospect a part of the organization?
People with stronger ties tend to have higher affinities to give back to Greek organizations. Whether a prospect was highly engaged in your Greek organization or not, many brothers and sisters already donate to various nonprofits, while others have both the means and will to give, but have yet to donate. Prospect research helps to find these people, so you can initiate the prospect development process and begin conversations about major philanthropy. One easy first step might be to screen a long list of initial prospects. Learn how to conduct a bulk screening to gather data on 2,000+ prospects at once.

4. How to screen prospects for your Greek organization

How to screen prospects includes what to look for and the methods to obtain your desired data. What you’re looking for is not merely wealthy alumni. Money matters, but philanthropic indicators, such as previous giving to both your Greek organization and other nonprofits, are better indicators of future giving. Of course, combining philanthropic data with wealth markers is the optimal approach, as the best major gift prospects have not just the affinities to give, but the capacities to give, too. To conduct prospect research, there are three common approaches:
  1. Do it yourself
  2. Prospect research consultant
  3. Prospect screening company
The approach your organization chooses will depend on your budget, resources, and the depth of information you desire. Learn more about the three ways to conduct prospect research and more in our comprehensive guide.

5. When to screen for prospective donors

Lives can change in an instant, and alumni who previously couldn’t or did not wish to give might be able to do so in the future. People get new jobs, develop new outlooks, and acquire more wealth in various ways. Screening a prospect once is not enough. You want to screen prospects at regular intervals in order to update both basic contact information and data that could indicate a propensity to give a major gift. Fraternities and sororities have large alumni bases that want to support the Greek organizations that helped them have memorable college experiences. Prospect research helps you find these generous alumni and craft more effective fundraising strategies. The result should be more money earned by your next fundraising campaign, which means that your fraternity or sorority can do more to improve campus life.
If your Greek organization is new to prospect research or wants to learn more about how prospect research can help your fundraising, there are a few easy next steps to take. We recommend scheduling a demo with a dedicated DonorSearch representative today or continuing your research with a few of our suggested resources: Schedule a demo of DonorSearch's products!
Prospect Research for Greek Organizations