Donor Research in Fund Development

The economy may be in recovery, but nonprofits are not out of the woods yet!With tough competition for limited dollars, you need to spend your time and resources on the donors who have the most potential.In this course you will learn the basics of Donor Research: how to identify the best prospects to increase giving to your organization and how to maximize "The Ask" by discovering your best prospects' interests and inclinations and giving capacity.  A review of free and affordable donor research tools will be covered as well.

  • Develop a prospect list by identifying individuals and groups who have the capacity and propensity to give in order to qualify candidates for further research and cultivation efforts
  • Analyze the prospect list using characteristics such as interest, values, giving history, and relationship to the organization in order to select potential donors for particular projects
  • Implement and utilize a data management system that stores information about prospects to enable retrieval and analysis
  • Rate prospects in categories of giving potential in order to prioritize and plan solicitations

Key Knowledge Areas for the above tasks:

  • Trends and characteristics (such as socioeconomic, historical, and cultural) of a constituency
  • Sources and of financial support, (such as individuals, corporations, grant-making bodies, foundations, government) and their motivations, practices, and policies
  • Benefits and uses of various market and donor surveys, and donor giving patterns
  • Techniques for gathering, segmenting and analyzing prospective donor research, indicators of gift potential
  • Prospect information sources, including people and written/published materials and electronic
  • Prospect screening, qualifying, and rating methods
  • Relationships between and among annual, capital/major, and planned giving programs

Instructors: Melissa Worthington and Jodi Kohrs