If you could accurately predict the future you’d be a very successful person. You’d spend your days trading stocks at the exact right moment and catching kittens just as they fall from trees. You could be a crime-preventing, disaster-avoiding, money maker. Such seemingly far-fetched dreams. We might not have found a way to predict the world’s future, but we have uncovered a way for fundraisers to predict donors’ futures — prospect research. Prospect research is talked about a lot on this blog, which is quite reasonable given that it is DonorSearch’s specialty. When performing a prospect screening, you’re taking a holistic approach to donor analysis. You want the big picture of a prospect’s giving future, so you look at a combination of worthwhile factors. Take a dash of past giving, a teaspoon of nonprofit involvement, a pinch of real estate ownership, some secret ingredients, and mix it all together to whip up a batch of predictive donor profiles. In thinking about the ingredients that go into creating a prospect profile, we can typically see the various data types dividing into either wealth markers or philanthropic indicators. With wealth screening, nonprofits are looking at wealth markers in particular. Wealth screening is about giving capacity rather than willingness to give. A screening of this sort will answer one key question: How much can this prospect afford to give? Now, you’ll need to look at philanthropic indicators to see if that prospect will actually make the moves to donate, but wealth screening tells nonprofits what their prospects are capable of. The importance of that knowledge cannot be oversold.
There are five main benefits to fundraising with wealth screening.The fundraising benefits are:
- Identifying major giving prospects
- Identifying planned giving prospects
- Learning the ideal time to make an ask
- Learning the ideal amount to ask for
- Establishing realistic fundraising goals
1. Identifying Major Giving ProspectsWhen we talk about prospect research and wealth screening by extension, increasing major gifts is always a top priority. Wealth screening can have a huge impact on a fundraiser’s ability to bring in incredibly lucrative major gifts donors. Every organization, regardless of size, wants major gifts. Unfortunately, many miss out on opportunities to draw in those prospects, or they bungle the solicitation. Major gift donors are not hard to find if you know where to look. Let wealth screening be a personal compass. The challenge with those donors comes with actually convincing them to make donations, a task that can be very time consuming. With the help of wealth screening, fundraisers can readily determine who in their prospect pool is actually a major gift candidate. That way, staff isn’t spending valuable time hunting for major gift prospects, and is, instead, using those opportunities to reach out and properly cultivate relationships with those donors.
2. Identifying Planned Giving ProspectsGenerally speaking, there are two main truths about planned giving donor acquisition and nonprofits:
- Nonprofits largely benefit from and certainly want planned gifts.
- Nonprofits find it very difficult to uncover planned giving prospects.