Question: Who’s a Good Prospect?

It is tremendously difficult to understand who to prospect and who not to prospect. We don’t want to waste our time talking with people who are not interested in the organization and we need to be able to prioritize who we talk. So how do you do it?

How do you figure out who is a good prospect? If you are doing cold calling where do you go first? The Book of Lists, Chamber Lists? Do you get referrals from donors who already love the organization? When you call do you try and talk with business owners, executives, or middle management? How do you get in-touch with them?

I’m trying to answer those questions myself. How can I most appropriately use my time in prospecting and talking with donors? I’d love to hear from you.


One Response to Question: Who’s a Good Prospect?

  1. Sam Vigil Jr says:

    Use a prospect rating process, aka screening or peer screening. You may have a list of prospects already in hand. Hold a meeting of your board members and/or other well-connected donors who are close to the organization. Other prospects not on the list can also be suggested and rated. Prospects are quickly “discussed” and assigned a rating number in the “capacity” and “linkage (interest & involvement)” dimensions. The result of multiplying the two numbers gives you a single number that tells you “how good a prospect” each is. On the 1-5 scale that I’ve used, those rated 9 and up (25 being the highest) are considered the better prospects. Bill Sturtevant’s The Artful Journey has a more sophisticated version of the tool. Other resources offering guidance are the AFP Information Exchange papers “Screening Session” (Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE) and “Major Gift Prospecting and Prioritization” (Norman Olshansky); and the “Peer Screening” chapter in the WealthEngine report “2010 Healthcare Report – Best Practices for Prospect Research in Healthcare Fundraising – SEPTEMBER 2010 • SECOND EDITION”.

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