Donor Prospecting- What is the Point?

What is the point of donor prospecting? Most often we do it because we think that with donor research an incredibly wealthy donor is going to appear out of thin air. Then we are going to asking him for a big gift based on what we learned about him and it’s going to change the life of our non-profit. But, that’s not really how it works.

I’ve often found that non-profits rarely have big gifts that fall out of the sky, most of the time they come after years of cultivation. Why would it be any different after donor prospecting? I think we need to changing our mind on donor prospecting and get back to a focus on the donor. Fundraising is about relationship and unless we start there donor prospecting does not help. We need to spend time listening to what our donors are saying about themselves & their interests. If you do that then donor prospecting helps you fill in the gaps.

Prospect Research can be a really useful tool for finding information about existing donors and can bring an organization to the next level. It is important that we have the right mindset. Prospect Research is not the answer for your organization—good fundraising is. Donor research can help and a great way to start is by asking your donors questions. I will be writing an article in a couple weeks about what kinds of questions and conversations will help you in your donor research. If you want more information on how to research your donors check out a previous article I wrote, “Prospecting New and Existing Donors.”


3 Responses to Donor Prospecting- What is the Point?

  1. It’s all about the relationship.

    As one datapoint – I most definitely give more of my time
    and money to the organizations that take the time to engage
    me and with which I feel a personal connection.


  2. Hi Leo,
    This is the first time for me on the web-site.
    Our non-profit Emerald City Lights Bike Ride is going into its 4th year. We have a bike/walk event in September each year which brings in money for us to give healthy nutritious food baskets to families less fortunate then ourselves in our own communites during the Thanksgiving & Christmas Holidays. We are trying to build our event and our ultimate goal is to be able to give a basket of food to a family each day of the year. There are 1 in every 10 homes where the families go to bed hungry. We want to do something and also gie them a event to exercise.
    We are all volunteers and so no one takes a wage, we do get a share of donations from various friends and we do have some small companies that assist eah year at our event to keep the cost down. The great thing about our organization is we know where the money goes because we deliver to the families ourselves.

    We are interested in new ways to get funds to help those in need. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from you.
    Emerald city Lights Bike Ride

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment. I’d suggest checking out a couple of the articles on event planning,

    Outside of that the best place to start with a smaller organization is to talk with your board members. Tell them what you are thinking about doing and ask them to talk with their friends.

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