Screening your constituent base for prospects is an essential task to undertake when building a donor prospect pool. It’s one of the fastest, most efficient, and cost-effective ways to identify the most capable and inclined donor prospects for your cause.
Save Yourself the Trouble
Whether you’re screening 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 names or more, the route from records to results needn’t be a long, arduous, all-hand-on-deck research project. The objective should be to get the best possible prospects to your field staff without taking 6-months to do so.
Here are some steps you can take to save you from pouring over each name, doing more research, and still come up with a potent portfolio:
Preparation and Solution Selection
- Start With ‘Clean’ Data. Avoid the ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ syndrome by making sure that the file you submit has good names, accurate (and complete) addresses that the screening vendor can match new data to–at the very least. Many organizations will do database appends, such as NCOA, birthdate, etc.
- ‘Seed’ Your File with Strategic Information. Most screening vendors offer a number of fields you can populate with your internal prospect attributes, such as ratings, last events attended, class year, cultivation stage, etc. — You’ll be glad you have more flags to use in segmenting your results.
- Select a Screening Solution that includes Proven Philanthropy. Wealth markers are a START, but you’re left not knowing if the prospect is (or ever will be) philanthropic. A record of their giving to causes like yours is the best indicator of their prospect potential.
- Select a vendor with solid matching logic, and stick to the highest quality matches in reviewing the data.
Results Validation — Sort/Filter, Segment, Prioritize, and Integrate
You’ll likely receive your results in two forms: a spreadsheet and the list in the vendor’s platform/application. You should be able to use either mechanism to narrow down and prioritize the list. Follow these guide posts:
- Sort and Filter by the Markers of Philanthropy. Our research tells us that these data points are true indicators of giving likelihood:
- Past Giving to your organization (this is data you should be including in your file before processing).
- Proven Philanthropy (prospect giving to other organizations–look for their giving to causes like yours).
- Political Giving. Contributors to causes at the federal level are more philanthropic–with bigger gifts.
- Non-Profit affiliations. Trustees and directors give more and have influence.
- Business Wealth. Revenues, insider stock holdings
- Real Estate Holdings
Use these as your criteria in sorting and filtering your list(s), and you’ll quickly see who to talk to first.
- Segment the List. Use the range of inclination ratings and capacity information to target segments of your list for different purposes, like principal, major, and annual giving.
- Prioritize action (the next visit, the next event, the next mailing) by the strength of the philanthropic indicators (e.g., loyalty + philanthropy + wealth = top priority).
- Integrate the results. Map the screening data to prospect fields in your CRM. You’ll be able to blend internal engagement data with screening intelligence–in real time. (Many screening vendors offer custom integrations and in-app solutions for generating individual profiles).
Screening Validation may feel like a long journey, but if you follow these guidelines (and you have a great screening provider), you’ll get to action quickly.