The Future of Prospect Research | npENGAGE

The Future of Prospect Research

By on Aug 4, 2010


A couple of weeks have passed now since the APRA Conference in Anaheim, but I was recently reviewing some notes and thought I would share.  As is the case at many conferences, some of the most compelling content focuses on the future and what attendees from a specific focus area can expect moving forward.  Prospect researchers are no different and this is a great event to plug in to the latest topics. As such, at least a couple of sessions at APRA focused on the future, including The Future of Prospect Research which was a panel discussion featuring three former APRA Presidents and hosted by the current APRA President, Rob Scott.  The open discussion included:

  • Relationship management…a topic which came up several times.  Knowing your prospects and who they know can be a valuable start toward cultivating their support.  This also spoke to the need to get more into the hearts and minds of prospects by looking for information that goes beyond giving capacity data (for example, following social feeds for prospects to discover their interests).  While on this topic, I also heard good reviews from The Future of Data session given by Brian Dowling and David Lawson!  One of the topics there was around how data visualization is on the rise, which plays directly into the relationship management and relationship mapping discussions.  In fact, there is an interesting site with much more on this topic at which was put together by David Broussard and further explored in a guest post for the CoolData blog by Jason Boley of Purdue University.
  • Reporting and ROI…may sound dull, but it becomes more and more important all the time to show how good research leads to fundraising success by directly tying research efforts to gifts.
  • Having the most up-to-date information…this becomes even more critical moving forward – if a fundraiser/MGO can walk into a meeting with brand new information about a prospect, feedback indicates that can often be the most powerful and impressionable talking point of a discussion.

Another hot topic as of late has been privacy…fueled by recent articles like the ones found in The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Wall Street Journal. One of the former presidents on the panel was Elizabeth Crabtree who also wrote an excellent response to the recent article in The Wall Street Journal article for the latest APRA Connections newsletter.

What other articles or topics have you seen out there lately around prospect research?


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