There are a lot of ways to find information about people online. I talk about a few Prospect Research tools in my post, Prospecting New and Existing Donors. Before I go on I want to mention that the best information comes directly from the donor in the form of questions and answers. So don’t turn to prospect research as your main or only source for information or you will miss an enormous opportunity to build a relationship with your donor.
When looking for information on an individual I will often try and find a bio about them at their business or church. Using site specific searches can help here in a big way. Just use the person’s name and the site of their organization.
Jason Dick site:hope-link.org
Reverse phone look-up can be a great tool as well. Just enter
rphonebook: for residential and you can add city, last name, or phone number
This can help you get information about what neighborhoods they live in and using local county records can give you house values. This tool can be a good indicator of wealth to help you understand what level to make an ask for. You can also use reverse address look-up in http://www.white-pages.com to find who their neighbors are:
Go to http://www.white-pages.com, “reverse look-up,” [1234-1235] Address Road, City, State
These searches don’t work every time and when they do make sure that you are being respectful and appropriate about how the information is being used.
Another place where you can find information is through family genealogies. Here are a few sites you can use to help:
Cindi’s List (A gateway to other sites): http://www.familytreeresearch.com/
All the information for this post on how to search come from the book, Web Search Garage, by Tara Calishain. If you want more details where to find this book or other resources that I am reading visit the Resources page.