I have heard it a thousand times:  “I wealth screened my database but didn’t find much.”

Admittedly, not all prospects return a plethora of information, and this has to do with what is in the public domain and understanding the data sources included in the screening.  Target Analytics’ WealthPoint Professional prides itself on having a wide representation of asset, philanthropic and biographical data sources that can offer keen insights on prospects.

Optimizing those results, however, requires a good understanding of how best to interpret the returned information.  As we often say, wealth screening does take a little time to learn how to take full advantage of the results.

Let’s take a little tour to discover what exactly lies within a wealth screened record:

SCENARIO:  Unnamed prospect has approximately $350,000 in confirmed assets.  Identified information includes additional real estate, a vague “$0” in business ownership assets, and some Biographical, Philanthropic Gifts, Political Contributions and Non Profit Affiliation information.  None of this had been accessed as client assumed it was “wrong”.  She had asked me why they hadn’t learned more about the prospect than the value of their home.

I asked the client if she had five minutes to spend reviewing the information with me, and here’s what we found:

Real Estate:

The prospect’s primary residence was the only confirmed asset.  It clearly was a nice house, but nothing sensational.  However, I noticed, in the “owner name” field that the name was followed by “tte”, meaning the prospect had placed his property in some type of trust.  While not foolproof, this is a great indication that the individual has done some financial planning, and perhaps, has a financial reason to create a trust.  In addition, there was a second piece of property—an apparent lake home.  It was clearly his; however, I hadn’t immediately confirmed since the owner’s mailing address was a P.O. Box, not matching his home address.

Business Ownership:

That pesky “$0” was an indicator that some information was returned, a fact the client hadn’t realized.  We clicked on the information and found a sizable company with a valuation of over $10 million.  However, even though the prospect had indicated  he was the “principal”, he had chosen not to disclose a “percentage of ownership” amount.  As a private company, it isn’t required to report this information.  It would make, however, a great discussion topic if the client got to know the prospect and sought out more information about his livelihood.  (She later told me  she found out  he was the 100 percent owner, meaning that $10 million slid to the “confirmed” category.)

Affiliations and Interests:

We took a look at the remaining categories.  I encouraged her to check out the Biographical Information first.  While missing information is frequently left unconfirmed, many categories are easy to confirm once reviewed.  This was, indeed, the case for a “Who’s Who” hit.  Suddenly she had a wealth of information!  She now knew where the prospect attended college, making several significant philanthropic gifts easy to confirm; saw that the prospect was on the board of a couple of local non profits, which confirmed some of the Non Profit Affiliation info, gained insights into his career and saw under Avocations that he listed golf and travel as areas of interest.  She also noted that some of the former positions listed made some Political Contributions confirmable, adding to the growing suspicion that this individual had some discretionary income!

Wow!   In less than five minutes this prospect had gone from being “not much” to someone with a summer home, had done some financial planning, owned a successful business, served on the board of several non profits, had supported their alma mater as well as other organizations and political candidates with nice contributions, and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle that included travel and golf.  All of this discovered about someone who had been pretty much dismissed because the fundraiser had first just looked at confirmed assets.

Did discovering this information require some work? 

Yes, but not all that much and no wealth screening is “out of the box” ready.  And the results were illuminating! If you have done a wealth screening lately and feel you would like more from the results, make sure you are seeing what truly lies within.  With Target Analytics’ WealthPoint Professional, pre-existing queries in ResearchPoint make getting to some of this information very easy.

Inspired?  I hope so.  Contact me at laura.worcester@blackbaud.com if you have questions.  I will be happy to help!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Worcester, senior consultant at Target Analytics, joined Blackbaud in 2001.In her current role she advises nonprofits on utilizing screening results in identifying and evaluating best donor prospects. In 25+ years of fundraising experience, Laura has served as the chief advancement officer for numerous organizations and managed her own consulting business, providing grant writing services to arts, educational and health care organizations. She’s presented at development conferences and has been a regular contributor to Blackbaud’s blogs with selected posts being reprinted in journals such the NonProfit Times. A traveler since her study abroad days in Denmark, Laura’s committed to passing this enthusiasm on to her teenage daughters. Her family’s travel adventures were just featured in a neighborhood magazine in her suburban Milwaukee community. Contact Laura by email.

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