Prospect Research for Fundraisers : The Essential Handbook

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Wiley

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Essential tools for implementing right-sized prospect research techniques that help nonprofit organizations reach their fundraising goals Written especially for front-line fundraisers, Prospect Research for Fundraisers presents a practical understanding of prospect research, prospect management, and fundraising analytics, demonstrating how research can be used to raise more money. Filled with examples, case studies, interviews, and stories, this unique book is structured around the fundraising cycle and illustrates the myriad of current and ever-changing prospect research tools and techniques available to boost an organization's fundraising effectiveness. From essential overviews to how-to-search skills, this practical book gives development officers the tools to understand how to use prospect research in ways that best fit their goals for each stage of the fundraising cycle. Provides practical insight to understand the best use of each prospect research tool and technique Features a companion website with a variety of online tools to help readers implement key concepts Part of the AFP Fund Development Series Prospect Research for Fundraisers provides fundraisers with an understanding of what prospect research is and which resources are available to small organizations that have limited internal capacity, medium-sized organizations building capacity, and large organizations wanting to maximize their strengths. It offers a practical understanding of the relevant tools at the disposal of development officers and managers responsible for hiring, outsourcing, purchasing, managing, and implementing prospect research within their organizations.

Author Biography

JENNIFER J. FILLA operates Aspire Research Group out of Florida, providing prospect research services to organizations across the country. Prior to founding Aspire Research Group, she served as associate director of development at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a member and past trustee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Suncoast Chapter, and was most recently the 2010–2011 president of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement, Florida Chapter.

HELEN E. BROWN is President of The Helen Brown Group LLC and a twenty-plus year veteran in the field of prospect research. She is a former director of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) and currently serves as chair of the APRA Chapter Relations Committee. She is a past president of the New England Development Research Association. In 2006, she received the NEDRA Ann Castle Award for service to the prospect research community.

Table of Contents



Chapter One The Big Picture

What Is Prospect Research?

Why Do Prospect Research?

How Does Research Fit Into My Work and Into the Gift Cycle?


Dispelling Myths and Corroborating Evidence

Chapter Two Identifying New Prospects

Overview – Why We Identify New Prospects

Capturing and Maintaining Constituent Information

Manual Prospect Identification Methods

Wealth Screenings

Setting the Purpose and Goal for an Electronic Screening

Screening Verification and Analysis


Simple Data Mining

Advanced Data Mining

Donor Modeling

List Rental


Chapter Three Researching Prospects

Different Levels of Research

Types of Donor Profiles

Assembling Your Research Toolkit

Search Techniques Every Fundraiser Should Know

Capacity Ratings: Putting the Information Together


Chapter Four Donor Relationship Management

What Is a Relationship Management System?

The Three Moving Pieces

Creating Your Own System

Rating Your Prospects

Moving and Reporting on Your Prospects


Chapter Five Managing Prospect Research

Managing to Your Fundraising Goals

Hiring Employees and Volunteers

Skill Sets for Hiring

Managing Expectations

Defining Common Terms and Using Forms

Purchasing Resources

Options for the One-Person (or Small Team) Development Office


Chapter Six Ethics, Risk and Data Protection

What’s the Big Deal?

Starting with Donor Trust

Risky Business


Legal Issues

Outside of the United States

Some Practical Tips


Chapter Seven International Prospect Research

Making International Fundraising Work

Getting Started with International Prospects


Chapter Eight Growing Trends and Opportunities

The Future of Prospect Research

Big Data and Segmentation

Data Visualization

Relationship Mapping

Social Media and Social Scoring

Content Curation

What the Future Might Look Like



Appendix A: AFP Code of Ethics

Appendix B: Donor Bill of Rights

Appendix C: APRA Statement of Ethics

Appendix D: APRA Skill Sets - Advanced

Appendix E: APRA Skill Sets - Fundamentals

Appendix F: APRA Skill Sets - Relationship Management

Appendix G: APRA Skill Sets - Research Management

About the Authors


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