Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget

By | January 27, 2013

Prospect Research

Transcript is now available! Click here.

If yours is a nonprofit with resources, chances are you are able to invest in prospect and donor research.

There are some amazing research tools on the market to help your organization identify top prospects that might be hiding in your database, or fill out the picture of a major donor that you want to take to the next level.

But there are many free (or nearly free) resources out there to help those nonprofits that aren’t able to invest in expensive research tools. Join the #fundchat community on Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 12 – 1 pm EDT to discuss, “Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget.”

As we gear up for what is sure to be a great discussion, here’s what you can do:

  1. Share your questions about this topic. If you are a #fundchat veteran, you know that we pose a new question every 10 minutes during the hour-long chat. Offer yours, and we just might use it!
  2. Share the love. Tell your friends and colleagues about #fundchat. Share this post with your friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
  3. Subscribe to the blog (see the right-hand column) so you never miss an update about #fundchat. We solemnly swear NOT to spam you.
  4. Check back here the morning of the chat to preview the questions and then lock your office door at the appointed time to participate!

Here is this week’s question line-up:

  • Q1 What are your go-to sources for researching prospects and donors?
  • Q2 Are you “friends” with your donors? Do you use social media to learn more about prospects or donors?
  • Q3 What are the best “low-tech” ways to research prospective donors?
  • Q4 How much time & energy should be devoted to research for #nonprofits with a small staff? (submitted by @canterconsults)
  • Q5 How do you answer those who might question whether donor and prospect research is ethical?


#fundchat – Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget

The transcript from the Jan. 30, 2013 edition of #fundchat –

Storified by #fundchat· Wed, Jan 30 2013 12:49:06

Welcome to #fundchat! Today’s topic: "Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget" We’ll wait a few mins. for folks to arrive
Hi tweeps! I’m actually here and on time this week! #winning #fundchatMeg Hoffman
Yo #fundchat wassup?Ephraim Gopin
getting ready for #fundchatRichard Redding
Hi everyone, looking forward to my first #fundchat #fundchatHelen E. Brown
Happy to join the fun folks on Fundchat to discuss donor prospect & research for the next hour. #fundchatRick J Blount
@fundraisinisfun and @NonProfit_Meg What’s up? How are you’s? #fundchatTony Martignetti
Looking forward to today’s session on prospect research. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
My first #fundchat! #fundchatPreeti Gill
Sitting down for another fun filled afternoon of #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@AskHelenBrown Welcome! Why do I feel compelled to address you with question marks?? #fundchatRick J Blount
@rjbvermont How are you? #fundchat Good to see you.Tony Martignetti
@AskHelenBrown welcome – I did my first one last week #fundchatRichard Redding
@rjbvermont ha! #fundchatHelen E. Brown
MT @fundchat: Welcome to #fundchat! Today’s topic: "Prospect & #Donor Research On A Budget" #fundraising #AFPeepsJosh Hirsch
Hey everyone! Excited to join our first #fundchat #fundchatHabitat Savannah
@Preeti_Things *waves* You made it! #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@TonyMartignetti Back atya. #fundchatRick J Blount
Hello everyone, great topic today. #fundchatDiana Estigarribia
Why not take a minute to join the #fundchat Google+ community?
hello, hello. *waving* #fundchatLeslie Clay
Looking forward to fun w #fundchat today!ConceptLink
@rjbvermont What happened to your running profile pic? I liked it. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@AskHelenBrown Hey Helen! *waves*! #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Whew! Made it! And I hardly neglected anything I was supposed to get done! #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
Hello, my fundchatting associates. It’s a pleasure to see you all here. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
I see we have several actual prospect researchers here, so we’ll have to rely on data rather than opinions. Boring. #fundchatRick J Blount
Hello #fundchat and @brendankinney!Tony Martignetti
@TonyMartignetti He got winded from all that running. @rjbvermont #fundchatRichard Freedlund
I’ll be in and out today, friends. Clearing the decks in advance of @YNPN National Board Retreat tomorrow & Friday. #fundchatDan Blakemore
About to get started… MT @fundchat: Welcome to #fundchat! Today’s topic: "Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget" H. Leonard
@rjbvermont Hey! I’m happy to give my opinion & ignore data. πŸ™‚ #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@erejman @preeti_things Hi you two, nice to see other researchers here! Any others? #fundchatHelen E. Brown
@TonyMartignetti Got old & fat. But maybe I’ll haul it back out for the 25th anniversary of our marathon this year. #fundchatRick J Blount
@rjbvermont You’ll keep us entertained with uninformed commentary. I’m sure I can help you. #fundchatTony Martignetti
Wow, several first timers participating in #FundChat today. Very cool.William Pitcher
Q1 What are your go-to sources for researching prospects and donors? #fundchat#fundchat
Hello @dan_blakemore! #fundchatTony Martignetti
Glad to "see" you #fundchatkim polzin
@WmPitcher It’s always nice to see new folks here, isn’t it? #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@ggfundraise How are you? #fundchatTony Martignetti
#fundchat A1. Foundation Center’s Online DirectoryConceptLink
@rjbvermont #prospectresearch is one part science, two parts art and finesse, esp on a budget! #fundchatPreeti Gill
A1 Linked In, local business journals, google #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A1: Rabbi Google. #fundchatEphraim Gopin
A1 @iwave (iwave PRO) is a good paid resource for both CDN & US research. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A1 foundations, individuals, or corporate? #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@AskHelenBrown great to see you and @erejman! #fundchatPreeti Gill
A1 #LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to find potential and current #donors. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
A1: hoping to add new tools today; now using biz journals, blogs, etc., for corp prospect research #fundchatkim polzin
A1 My fave source for fundraising research are prospects & donors! People share lots of info if you ask. #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
A1 Also use #PalmBeach County #PropertyAppraiser website, #fundchatJosh Hirsch
A1 The university or local library can provide access to databases such as LexisNexis or Factiva for free. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A1: The Foundation Center. Their robust data is free at cooperating collection public libraries all over US. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@WmPitcher hah, I was JUST going to say that– best strategy for an agency on a budget #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@ggfundraise And good to see the old timers too. πŸ˜‰ #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@TonyMartignetti Doing all right. Life could be better, life could be worse. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A1 How can we forget #Google I always look up prospects on here and can find some very useful information #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@erejman is that true of all libraries? #fundchatRichard Redding
@fundchat Q1 – free sources? Google, LinkedIn, SEDAR (CDN public cos), CRA (CDN foundations). #IamCDN #fundchatPreeti Gill
@erejman LN access at public institutions getting scarce, but law firms sometimes give access thru a board member! #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A1 I take advantage of RSS Feeds & Google Alerts to push information to me from various news sources & blogs. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
#fundchat A1. Hope to see some more orgs using LinkedIn for prospect researchkaseymarcum
A1: LinkedIn. Big time. #fundchatEphraim Gopin
Smart pages is also a good resource to confirm you’ve found the correct "Sally O’Malley" on google. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A1 Weekly Notables (Society) Section of the #PalmBeach Post @pbpost #fundchatJosh Hirsch
Board of Directors who have been recruiting them. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@rich_redding U would need to check w/ local library. Check w/ alma mater or local university library. U could get access for free #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A1: There are lots of free sites for prospect research. @mariasemple has many in her toolbox. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@erejman excellent – thanks! #fundchatRichard Redding
A1 Som simple data mining tricks like RFM can bring forward prospects currently not on your radar. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
MT @JoshHirsch1: A1 (Society) Section of < your local social publication (#fixt!) #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A1: re: LinkedIn: Do you have any concerns about prospects’ ability to track who’s looking? (My sense: Non issue, just wondering.) #fundchatRick J Blount
A1: I find guidestar helpful for foundations #fundchatLeslie Clay
A1 Found a video on #YouTube about a #donor. Helped to guide my conversation when I sat down with her and know about her interests #fundchatJosh Hirsch
A1 Less obvious, but great sources for corporate prospect research are @ieg and #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@erejman what does RFM stand for? #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
MT @erejman: Some simple data mining tricks like RFM can bring forward prospects currently not on your radar. #fundchatJeffrey Martin
@Preeti_Things @fundchat Thanks for that list, Preeti! There are many free and low-cost. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@rjbvermont You’re assuming the prospects are checking or care…:) #fundchatEphraim Gopin
A1 Another great source for fundraising research is a professional prospect researcher — amazing what they find #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@rjbvermont I find those alerts off putting. Make me think twice about viewing a #LinkedIn profile. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@rjbvermont Isn’t stalking what Linked In is FOR? πŸ˜‰ #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
Q2 Are you "friends" with your donors? Do you use social media to learn more about prospects or donors? #fundchat#fundchat
@TonyMartignetti πŸ™‚ My go-to US sources are Zip Skinny for demo data, Zillow for real estate & am amazed at details in WP entries. #fundchatPreeti Gill
@rjbvermont Researchers guided by APRA Statement of ethics. U must be clear about your identity. If U R squeamish, don’t use it. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@erejman RFM = recency (how recently donated), frequency (how often donated), monetary value (how much donated) cc/@JunoConsult #fundchatJeffrey Martin
A1 Love AFP member access to Foundation Center grantmaker online directories at cooperating public libraries #fundchatkim polzin
A1: Local biz newsletter (chamber of commerce) is good source for biz folks. #fundchatTony Martignetti
A1: We always talk to the BOD and other donors who might know the person/company/foundation #fundchatMeg Hoffman
@WmPitcher what kinds of upfront costs are you looking at with a pro? #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A1: Board can be a good source of info on prospects, too. #fundchatTony Martignetti
A2: Affirmative on using SM to learn more about them. Yessiree. #fundchatEphraim Gopin
Hi all! Meeting ran long, so I’m late. But here! #fundchatMary Cahalane
A2 I am not friends w/ donors on social media b/c the personal/professional becomes too cloudy. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A2: We don’t use much social media yet, but hopefully in 2013…… #fundchatMeg Hoffman
A2: some of our donors. #fundchatLeslie Clay
A1. We work w int’l clients — any recommendations if you’re trying to source prospects internationally? #fundchatConceptLink
A2 I use LinkedIn most often to connect with prospects or donors, especially those in biz community. FB only for "close" donors. #fundchatbrendankinney
@fundchat A2: friends with a few – but almost all are truly "friends" outside of one organization or another. #fundchatMary Cahalane
@erejman Good point about ethical guidelines. I’m thinking more of affecting inclination; hypothesis is it is good to be tracked #fundchatRick J Blount
For Q1 If your local library doesn’t have the what you need anyone can get a card from the New York Public Library #fundchat #fundchatCaroline Scott
@mcahalane Hi, Mary!! #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A2 I use social media to better understand affinity, interests – get a "feel" for prospect. Not the best for hard facts. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A2 It’s hard not to become friends w frequent donors, but it can be a real trap. Proceed with caution. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@ConceptLink there are many great professional researchers who specialize in intl #prospectresearch in US, CAN & abroad #fundchatHelen E. Brown
Q2 sometimes I follow leads on Twitter if I’m personally interested in their work or cause. Lines blurred? #fundchatPreeti Gill
A2: "Professional friendship" is essential. Beyond that it gets risky. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@JunoConsult You can spend $300 for detailed profile of a top prospect or $10-20k for entire prospecting review/strategy #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
Social media good for starting relationship, but in person to get more detail is better. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@ConceptLink There are some researchers that specialize in International research. has some good resources #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A2: "Friends" issue is a whole topic.Boundaries important. Remain in touch w/just a few donors after leaving 17 yr position. #fundchatRick J Blount
@Preeti_Things Good ?. I think it depends on social media, twitter isn’t the same as facebook. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A2: One of my mentors has always said you cannot distinguish between professional and personal identity online, they are the same! #fundchatJosh Gold, MNM
Wondering if social media is better way to connect with younger prospects/donors…or am I being "age-ist"?? #fundchatbrendankinney
New DevDir a few yrs ago, stunned/hurt when donor "friends" from former post didn’t follow her #talesfromthefront #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
Q2 I might use Linked-IN or Twitter to connect with donors, but I am cautious of Facebook — too personal. #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@JunoConsult Well, if they’re people I’ll see outside of work, they’re friends. Otherwise, caution=yes. FB lists are handy! #fundchatMary Cahalane
@brendankinney I draw bold lines around SM contacts- LI, FB Page only for pro contacts, separate Tw for me and Pro-me. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@brendankinney I think it is a great way to start the conversation – but would not limit the age range #fundchatRichard Redding
Q2 I encourage fundraisers to connect w/ select prospects online (LinkedIn) to maintain contact. Depends on the prospect. #fundchatPreeti Gill
@JunoConsult yikes! I’d NEVER make that assumption! #fundchatMary Cahalane
@JunoConsult They were "friends" on behalf of organization. May not have same passion for new organization. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A2 I’ll put people like you guys on my FB, but I never put donors there, even if we’re legit friends. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@erejman I’m not on FB at all. Not using for #prospectresearch. Should I? #fundchatPreeti Gill
@ggfundraise Exactly. #fundchatMary Cahalane
MT @NonprofitGold: A2: 1 of my mentors has always said U can’t distinguish btw prof. & personal identity online, they R the same! #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@brendankinney agree, to an extent. Our clients’ Board Members are rarely on #twitter; generally their network isn’t either! #fundchatConceptLink
@JunoConsult Agreed! #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A2: LinkedIn is a safe social network for donors and fundraisers to engage. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@ggfundraise @mcahalane Exactly. Hard lesson learned, fortunately only expense was pride. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A2 I am Friends on #Facebook with some of my #donors. Just another method of #stewardship. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
When it’s a smaller community, those lines do get blurred. But I agree that yr behavior – pro or no – is still important. #fundchatMary Cahalane
Get @junoconsult’s DevDir a "It’s Not About You" button… (anybody else having retweet troubles?) #fundchatRick J Blount
@JunoConsult Why did you unfriend me? #fundchatTony Martignetti
Q3 What are the best "low-tech" ways to research prospective donors? #fundchat#fundchat
A2 Also connected to some #prospectdonors on #LinkedIn as well. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
A2 Better is to work to foster friendships betw donors, board, artists or academics, etc. to promote donor loyalty #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@Preeti_Things I believe that if you are embarrassed to say where you secured info, don’t use that source. Thus, I don’t use FB #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A3 Pick-up a newspaper and look for the #Society Section. This is a low-tech and low-cost method. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
Q3: your local newspapers – yeah, I still read an actual newspaper every day. #fundchatLeslie Clay
A3: Get off the computer and talk to people face to face! #fundchatEphraim Gopin
@JoshHirsch1 You don’t worry about what friends may post on your timeline that you may not want donors to see? #fundchatTony Martignetti
A3 I like to look at prospects giving history – where & how much. Easy way to get a sense of capacity/affinity. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@fundraisinisfun what is this "face to face"? What is a "face"? πŸ˜‰ #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A3 Networking, Face2Face, calls, Chamber of Commerce events #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@SarahJLA @erejman well said! #fundchatPreeti Gill
A3 One of the best low-tech methods for fundraising research is still well-connected volunteers #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
A3 Research can only tell you so much. Picking up the phone & talking to prospect will take you to the next level. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A3= Obituaries contain amazing wealth of info. #yesIreadtheobitslikeitsmyjob (Wait, it IS my job) #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JunoConsult It’s what you see when you Skype (or Google+ Hangout) with someone πŸ™‚ #fundchatEphraim Gopin
A3: Have your board review prospect lists tw2o or 3 times a year for people they know. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@JoshHirsch1 Shhhhhh- let’s keep this our secret! #fundchatEphraim Gopin
Coffee meetings, lunches #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@ggfundraise problem w Chamber of Commerce is that often the people you need to get to are not the ones at the staff-level events #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@rjbvermont How’s that for out-of-the-box thinking?! #fundchatEphraim Gopin
@JunoConsult I read the obits too! #fundchatLeslie Clay
If my friend @robinec were here, she’d say the Who got Married section of the NY Times… #fundchatEphraim Gopin
A3 surveys! #fundchatHelen E. Brown
A3 For fundraising research on companies, municipal economic development officers are a great source of info. #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@JunoConsult But they help open doors. Also small business owners often attend. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@dan_blakemore @LWClay <fantastic tool #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@ggfundraise Yes, I’ve met every fee-only broker in town at Chamber πŸ˜› #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@fundraisinisfun @JoshHirsch1 Is a G+ hangout face-to-face meeting? #fundchatTony Martignetti
A3 I just created a survey using #GoogleDocs to reach out to our #Alumni. Actually getting a response back which is great. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
Sorry to skip out. Good chat, all! "Met" some new folks. -30- #fundchatPreeti Gill
How do you do prospect research–low- or high-tech–on young prospects? How is the process different from older-prospect research? #fundchatJeffrey Martin
@TonyMartignetti I would consider that #facetoface in today’s technological age. #usingtechnologytoconnectwithdonors #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@Preeti_Things A pleasure, Preeti! #fundchatTony Martignetti
Q4 How much time & energy should be devoted to research for #nonprofits with a small staff? (submitted by @canterconsults) #fundchat#fundchat
@JeffreyJMartin For younger prospects, I’m thinking social media would be helpful if you are comfortable w/ it. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@rjbvermont @LWClay @dan_blakemore my friends have no idea- they think it’s all 2-martini lunches #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JeffreyJMartin In case of "older" prospects some may not have online presence, you may need to revert back to paper directories. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A4 90% of time spent on researching #donors, #foundations, #grants, etc. 10% of time spent acting upon the research #fundchatJosh Hirsch
A4 It’s a process-ID, Acquisition, Cultivation, Solicitation, Stewardship. Can’t get to Step 2 if you leave out Step 1. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
Surprised no mentions yet for Guidestar, investor relations pages of corp websites (officer info), #fundchatkim polzin
@JunoConsult More like half a peanut butter sandwich, getting crumbs on the keyboard during Fundchat. #fundchatRick J Blount
A4: Time spent in research will save time in cultivation. You’ll move forward w/only the most promising. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@PolzinComm We hit @guidestar early in the discussion, but def worth a 2nd mention-fantastic resource #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A4 For small shops, research is ongoing, add info to DB as you learn it, in order to mine it when the time is right. #babysteps #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@erejman Very true. But I’ve heard people in their late 30s (not old, clearly, but not Millennial) are responsive on social media. #fundchatJeffrey Martin
MT @JunoConsult: A4 Its a process-ID, Acquisition, Cultivation, Solicitation, Stewardship. Cant get Step 2 if you leave out Step 1 #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A4 But if staff small or time limited, may be best to farm out research to pros and have mgos stay focused on their primary tasks #fundchatHelen E. Brown
A4 Research = efficiency. You are maximizing donor $$’s to be more efficient w/ fundraising strategy. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Old donors whose social life skews toward old not on SM; donors (like me) whose social life skews young, are. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A4 Time spent on fundraising research is self-adjusting. As long as you get truly valuable info — keep going! #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
A4: For a small staff, time allocation depends on much. Often, stewardship needs priority as much as acquisition of elusive "new" #fundchatRick J Blount
What tools or databases can a small staff use to track their prospects? #fundchatDiana Estigarribia
@JunoConsult Oh my, I was teasing you. #fundchatTony Martignetti
A3: I’m not above compiling lists of other giving in the area. Who gives what to whom? #fundchatMary Cahalane
@AskHelenBrown except that limited staff usually means limited $$ resources; hard to hire outside consultant #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@TonyMartignetti yes I did eventually figure it out. πŸ˜› #slowontheuptake #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@destigarribia You DB should be the single source of truth. Track everything in one DB. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@destigarribia Not excel. πŸ™‚ #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
2 true @JunoConsult: @AskHelenBrown except that limited staff usually means limited $$ resources; hard to hire outside consultant #fundchatRichard Freedlund
Hey wait, I just realized if I put everyone here on LI, then I’ll be 1-2-3 degrees from all their donors. Hmmm. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JunoConsult There we go! Just #fundchat levity.Tony Martignetti
@erejman πŸ™‚ Exactly what I’ve seen from my orgs… #fundchatDiana Estigarribia
@mcahalane Very smart, Mary! Other orgs annual reports, for instance. Even their websites. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@joshhirsch1 Agreed! Do not let MG officers keep "shadow" databases! #fundchatbrendankinney
@mcahalane Arts dev staff notorious for ignoring the show so they can read the donor list in the program. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JunoConsult possibly, but who costs more: pro researcher or fundraiser’s salary? And what is fundraiser hired to accomplish? #fundchatHelen E. Brown
A3 Oh oh! Low-tech fundraising research tool: Travel around town and checkout all the donor walls! Great info #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
A3 Peer and prospect review with trusted donors and/or board members is the most effective low-tech tool I know of #fundchatbrendankinney
@WmPitcher NOZA would be cheaper in the long-run. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@wmpitcher Whenever I’m at an event, I always flip to the back of the program and review their donor honor roll!! #fundchatbrendankinney
@WmPitcher and fun too! "You’re going to the zoo on company time?" "It’s prospect research, yo!" #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JunoConsult Just as hope is not a strategy, excel is not a database. #favquote #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Q5 How do you answer those who might question whether donor and prospect research is ethical? #fundchat#fundchat
@JunoConsult @mcahalane My wife now brings me playbills from shows that she attends so that I can keep up. #partnerincrime #fundchatDan Blakemore
@WmPitcher @mcalhane I can see you secretly using the camera on your smart phones taking pictures of donor walls. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A5- with a blank, unbelieving stare. #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@JunoConsult Absolutely! #fundchatMary Cahalane
@erejman Lots of pre-internet giving info can only be found on Donor Walls. πŸ˜‰ #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
A5 What’s #unethical about doing prospect research? I’m doing my #homework so I am as prepared as possible to do my job. #AFPeeps #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@junoconsult You could hire a prof. researcher for one-off research or prospect ID, doesn’t have to be on-going. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
A5 Remind them that it is imperative for our orgs to keep identifying and engaging those who may want to support our work #fundchatDan Blakemore
@brendankinney I’ve found many board members hesitant to do that, though. (I agree with you) #fundchatMary Cahalane
A5: Re: Ethics of research: My experience is that donor/prospects expect us to know them. (Corollary: Respect them & boundaries.) #fundchatRick J Blount
@ggfundraise @mcalhane I don’t worry about being secret. πŸ˜‰ #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
@mcahalane @brendankinney Why do you think they’re hesitant? Nervous about quid-pro-quo with their contacts? #fundchatDan Blakemore
MT @JoshHirsch1: A5 Whats #unethical about prospect research? Im doing my #homework so I’m as prepared as possible to do my job. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
I’m the only one on Broadway reading the list of donors to nonprofit theater companies. #fundchatTony Martignetti
@TonyMartignetti Yup. Me and excel… together time. #fundchatMary Cahalane
@dan_blakemore Def part of it. Also maybe feels like gossip? Not sure… #fundchatMary Cahalane
As long as research is not too personal and kept to seeking ability to give and interests, I see no problems. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A5 Board in particular conflate squidgy feeling about donor research with ethics (& nobody tell them about the obit thing, pls) #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
@rjbvermont Yes, "I saw that you’re in foreclosure on that FL home…" not a good idea, lol? #fundchatMary Cahalane
@dan_blakemore I think they feel like they are "giving up" their friends. Sometimes a warm intro is all you need. #fundchatbrendankinney
I gotta fly! Literally, I’m at LGA airport and my flight is starting to board. Great fun and great folks on #fundchat as always!Tony Martignetti
@ggfundraise Sometimes it helps though to go a bit personal so you can get a full picture of a prospective #donor #fundraising #fundchatJosh Hirsch
Prospect research is based on publicly available, verifiable sources. Anyone can secure the info, it’s not "secret" intelligence. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Depends on nature of the mission of your organization, really. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
A5: Put another way: Seems insulting to meet a donor FTF and not know the basics about him/her. Reflects poorly on institution #fundchatRick J Blount
@erejman whereas the secret intelligence is what we’re really after, lol #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
A5 If you truly respect your prospects, it’s easy to navigate potential ethical issues with fundraising research #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
If research moves a prospect forward in a positive fashion, I consider it ethical. If info doesn’t help relationship, don’t use it #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Before folks sign-off, I’d love to get your ideas for topics…I’ve run out! #fundchatbrendankinney
Oh and #fundchat friends please rate #NonprofitRadio on iTunes! Help us reach more nonprofits: Thank you.Tony Martignetti
@mcahalane Right! Or, So sorry about your daughter’s meth. arrest. #fundchatRick J Blount
@tonymartignetti Safe travels! #fundchat#fundchat
Yes! MT @rjbvermont: A5: Seems insulting to meet a donor FTF & not know the basics about him/her. Reflects poorly on institution #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
MT @rjbvermont: A5: PSeems insulting to meet a donor FTF and not know the basics about him/her. Reflects poorly on institution #fundchat#fundchat
@brendankinney Is boundaries of donor relationship a topic? Might it get us a reality show at least? #fundchatRick J Blount
@rjbvermont Unless your org is a drug rehab program. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@JunoConsult LOL, that requires "Research math". πŸ™‚ #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@erejman There are still some who feel like it’s "stalking" or something. Have to educ them on it. #fundchatMary Cahalane
@ggfundraise Well played. #fundchatRick J Blount
Thank you all for welcoming me! Looking forward to a future #fundchatHelen E. Brown
@dan_blakemore Am I going to have to buy a lot more makeup? #realityshow #fundchatMary Cahalane
@mcahalane Agreed, especially when you pull disparate pieces of info together to create a profile. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@mcahalane I sincerely doubt it, my dear. #fundchat #smileforthecameraDan Blakemore
Topic: pros and cons of crowd funding? #fundchatDiana Estigarribia
Have you done #crowdsource #fundraising as a topic recently? Can’t remember. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@AskHelenBrown Glad you showed up. Don’t forget to take our survey. (Oh, wait…) #fundchatRick J Blount
Thanks for a great chat everyone – looking forward to the next #fundchatRichard Redding
@brendankinney what about a chat on giving guidelines? #fundchatAlexandra Nelson
If you have things to say about fundraising & are not on this, let me know. I’ll add you #FundChatWilliam Pitcher
Great discussion everyone. Thanks so much for participating! #fundchatbrendankinney
The highs and lows of #specialevent #fundraising as a potential topic? #fundchatJosh Hirsch
@JoshHirsch1 Seems like we did a few months ago, but it could be revisited. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
Topic idea: Has #fundchat talked about ethics recently? #can’t remember. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
How about chasing the online giving contests, like Chase or Pepsi? #fundchatRichard Freedlund
@ggfundraise I thought we had but couldn’t remember. Nothing wrong with revisiting old topics of enough time has gone by. #fundchatJosh Hirsch
Topic suggestion: How to make the ask? Tips & tricks from the trenches. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Don’t forget that the transcript library is a treasure trove of ideas! http: #fundchat#fundchat
@brendankinney Thank you, Brendan! #fundchatMary Cahalane
How about the realities of special events, like runs, walks, galas? #fundchatRichard Freedlund
Thanks everyone! Always enjoy the lively conversation. #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
@erejman Ethics is one of my favorite topics! #fundchatRichard Freedlund
Topic: Volunteer Management (versus volunteer engagement). #fundchatLiz Rejman, CFRE
Thank you everyone! Until next time. #fundchatDiana Estigarribia
@JoshHirsch1 Neither am I, Josh. Yet many orgs spend great amounts of time and energy hoping to find that pot of gold. #fundchatRichard Freedlund
Great time today. Hope to see everyone here next week on #fundchatRichard Freedlund
We try to get funding through private foundations and individuals so that our organization is as sustainable as possible #fundchatMore Than Wheels

#fundchat is a weekly conversation on Twitter where experts share and discuss topics related to nonprofit fundraising and marketing. Joining #fundchat is a snap. Just use ourΒ live discussion pageΒ to follow the conversation. When you want to offer a comment or question, the form will auto-fill the hashtag for you. Alternatively, you can use your favorite Twitter client toΒ follow the hashtagΒ (#fundchat!) during 12 – 1 pm EDT to see the conversation in action. When chiming in, be sure to include the hashtag in your tweet. If you are new, you should also check out ourΒ participation guidelines.

2 thoughts on “Prospect & Donor Research On A Budget

  1. Brendan Kinney

    Pondering some questions for this week’s chat:

    What commercial wealth screening tools have you used and…was it worth it?
    What are basic tips for using the Internet to learn more about a donor or prospect?
    What are the best “low-tech” ways to research prospective donors?
    Share a success story of how a prospect review session with a donor led to securing a significant gift from a new prospect.
    How do you answer those who might question whether donor and prospect research is ethical?
    Do you use social media sites to try and learn more about prospects or donors? Where do you draw the line?

  2. Pingback: The Best of #fundchat 2013 | #fundchat

Comments are closed.