September 30, 2015
Prospect research can help transform your fundraising event from good to great. Whether you’re organizing a gala, auction, or other event, your fundraiser can always be improved by using prospect research. The benefits of using prospect research in general are endless, but here we’ll be highlighting how you can take advantage of prospect research as it relates to event fundraisers.
Here are three ways you can use prospect research to raise more money at your next fundraiser.
1. Use prospect research to build your guest list
Sending out invitations to a special event fundraiser can be like trying to figure out who to invite to your birthday party. While you want to invite everyone so that you can have an awesome celebration and receive lots of presents, you have to limit yourself based on location and who you are actually able to invite.
Even though it would be silly to use prospect research for a birthday party, it’s a great tool to use to determine who to invite to your fundraising event!
You can use prospect research to inform your fundraising team about donors’ past contributions to your organization, other similar nonprofits, and political campaigns. You can also learn about donors’ involvement as board members of nonprofits, business affiliations, and other personal information. Additional, prospect research can also help your organization identify which donors might be eligible for a matching gift grant from their employer.
Having this information at your fingertips by using prospect research can be the perfect way to narrow down your guest list to include existing and potential major gift donors who will contribute more money to your organization.
2. Use prospect research to organize donors at fundraising events
If you plan on hosting an event where donors will be sitting with each other for a significant amount of time, you will want to establish some kind of seating chart. Instead of blindly choosing where to seat Mr. and Mrs. Jones, use prospect research to clump similar donors who can talk to each other and feed off of each other’s energy.
Additionally, if you want to cultivate a donor into a major gift contributor, seat them at the same table as an existing major gift donor. The two can get to know one another, and hopefully you can turn a potential major gift donor into an actual one.
3. Use prospect research to reach out to donors after a fundraiser
After your amazing fundraiser has ended and your donors have gone home, you’ll need to reach out and thank them for attending.
However, some donors deserve a little more attention than others. Use prospect research to determine which donors you should focus on more after your fundraiser.
When you know a donor’s past giving trends, you are better able to predict their future giving patterns. By using prospect research to determine who your dedicated donors are, you can concentrate on them after your fundraiser has ended, invite them to future fundraisers, and encourage them to continue to give to your organization.
Bonus tip – Ongoing involvement with a nonprofit organization can be a potential indicator of whether a donor might be a good planned giving prospect. Make sure to document which donors attend your major donor events so your team can incorporate the information into their future fundraising efforts.
Prospect research can be a fantastic way to take your fundraising event to the next level. By determining who your top donors are and who has the potential to be a major gift donor, you will be able to maximize the amount of donations that your nonprofit receives.
-Bill Tedesco, DonorSearch
Bill Tedesco is a well-known entrepreneur in the field of philanthropy with over 15 years of experience leading companies serving the fundraising profession.
Bill has personally conducted original research to identify markers of philanthropy and has developed modeling and analytical products that use those markers to accurately predict future giving.
Since 2007, Bill has been the founder, CEO and Managing Partner of DonorSearch.