In a time when non-profits are tightening their belts, both with budgets and staff, it is a good time to take stock in what has been accomplished in this very tenuous year with our economy and in the world of philanthropy. We have been dealing with many challenges, and most likely will be dealing with more challenging times in 2012 and beyond. So what is the good news in all of this? It forces us to take a step back and figure out how to prioritize our time and dollars in regards to both fundraising and prospect research.
Many of the Target Analytics clients that I consult with on our products and services do not have a designated professional prospect researcher or data analyst on staff, whether it be full time or part time. So when they are looking at the internal data in their fundraising systems and any external data gathered from a wealth screening, data append, or modeling project, they don’t know exactly where to start. Here are some initial guidelines and next steps you can take in utilizing and culling out the list of prospects to focus on right away for your Major Gifts or Capital Campaign program:
- With a stand-alone wealth screening project where you have not done any modeling, first look at those with larger identified publicly-held assets (i.e. $5 million+) who have given at least one gift in the past three most recent years. You can always hone this list further by looking at those with 2+ gifts in recent years too. Look at these prospects to confirm any of the unconfirmed matches, in particular with the hard assets. Then take some time to look at some of their philanthropic and political contributions to get a very general sense of who else they are giving donations to, and approximately how much.
- Look at those where you have confirmed matches and who are executives with top titles like President, Owner, Partner, CEO, Principal, Chairman, etc., and see if they have unconfirmed asset matches or gifts to other political and non-profit organizations. See if the screening identified other executives at their company who might be a prospective donor to your organization.
- You should also complete the picture of your wealth screening data by looking to see what boards they sit on, both non-profit and for-profit, as well as any professional associations and clubs they belong to, what degrees or certifications they may have, what kinds of extra circular activities they enjoy, and any familial ties they have that might come into the picture. This indicates what is important to them both professionally and personally, and can be the basis for a connection when building relationships.
- If you did a modeling project or have done some internal analysis and modeling, then pull out those who scored at the top by their propensity to give and financial capability first. Then look at those top scoring prospects by likelihood to give a major gift. What age are they and what is their occupation? Are they in their prime earning years? Do they have children in college or in private school, or do they have other debts that might prevent them from giving a capital gift to your campaign? A quick look at potential liabilities or other life stage priorities may help you reprioritize them as a major gift or capital campaign prospect, so that you can spend time qualifying, at this time anyways, those who have more in the “plus” column.
A few quick tips for your Planned Giving program:
- With a wealth screening alone, you can prioritize by looking at those who have real estate holdings in trust, in combination with age and consistent giving factors. Keep in mind that those who give you consistent and recent smaller gifts year after year can be outstanding planned gift prospects. Planned gift and annual gift prospects share many of the same characteristics.
- Prioritizing older prospects can be one way to segment potential planned gift prospects, but also look at those who are in the middle-age bracket, starting in the mid 40s to upper 50s. Many of these people are already planning their estates, and now is the time for them to be knowledgeable about what planned giving opportunities are available to them through your organization.
Hopefully these are helpful beginning steps and tips to help you quickly and effectively prioritize your busy schedule and make use of the information and data that you have.
*Carol Belair is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.