Metrics in Prospect Research | npENGAGE

Metrics in Prospect Research

By on Feb 16, 2012


When I was a major gifts officer, I was given goals so that my vice president could measure multiple levels of my effectiveness.  One measure of course was dollars raised, but other metrics were number of face-to-face visits with individual prospects, number of proposals submitted, number of prospects moved from one category to another (from cultivation to solicitation).  But I am asked often how long should it take to research and confirm a prospect?

Well, that’s a difficult answer to aggregate because one part of confirming a prospect is how much you or your organization already knows about that person.  The more you know about them (i.e. if they are a board member and you know their middle initial, spouse’s name and alma mater), the more you can confirm from external sources.

I suggest you try to use some metrics in your office.  This may help with workflow, because it will take significantly longer to confirm an unknown prospect than a repeat board member.   Identifying how many individuals your team can confirm a week can help to adjust internal expectations of delivery of a final prospect report.  There may be one or two major gifts officers that request 90% of the research.  If you recorded this information, you might be able to justify additional researchers for the team, or the purchase of advanced software.   Some metrics you might want to consider tracking.

  • Number of research requests by month
  • Number of research requests by major gift officer
  • Number of research requests fulfilled by month
  • Average amount of time to confirm a prospect
  • Average number of sources needed to confirm a prospect

If you find specific metrics that work, we’d love to hear about it.  Make sure to reply to our blog and let us – and our readers – know what worked for you!

*Kate Breck is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach her at


Comments (2)

  • Tsamuel says:

    All good metrics and they are reflective of the range of challenges that can do prospect research. I would add one more so that development officers remember that research should be requested only when there is a high likelihood that it will be used.
    How about–
    Proportion of completed prospect profiles actually used in cultivation/solicitation?

  • Jennifer Fernando says:

    Awesome post. Thank your for sharing such a nice article.

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