5 Lists You Can Build in 5 Minutes

iWave’s datasets of public and proprietary information contain more records than you could search over many years, let alone a few short months of a fundraising campaign.

So how can you cast a wide net while still zeroing in on your ideal donor traits and indicators? We recommend building lists of prospects based on the criteria you’re looking for.  This could include geography, job title, type of luxury assets — you name it.  Once you have a physical list of names in front of you, the process of verifying and synthesizing that information becomes much easier.

Let’s build some prospect lists together.  Start the clock!


The VeriGift dataset is the largest growing, most up-to-date charitable giving database available.  It’s also the most popular dataset among iWave users.  You can build lists for donors and recipients, as well as specific types and values of donations.  Imagine your hospital foundation is launching a campaign for a new cancer treatment facility.  You’ve already reached out to government and foundation sources.  Now you want to focus on individual annual, major, and planned gift prospects.

In VeriGift, you can highlight “Individuals” and then choose “Health Care” in the Recipient Category section.  In Gift Information below, you may decide to search for Capital/Campaign gifts between $10,000 and $500,000 made in the last 10 years.  From here, you can identify the top prospects and determine giving trends over time for both those individuals and the entire group.


If you’re a longtime iWave Blog reader, you know researching foundations similar to your nonprofit is a critical part of prospect development.  In the Foundations and Public Charities dataset by Guidestar, you can build a number of lists related to foundations. These could include foundations in your city or state, foundation type (public vs. private), and category (healthcare, education, etc.).  You could use this list to apply for major grants.  Or, you could identify the foundation’s employees and decision makers.  Maybe those individuals could contribute to a similar cause or provide guidance by serving on your board.

Across the country or in your local area, you can search for private foundations, public charities, or both.  List the affinity in the NTEE Category section and input the gift amount range.  Your list will include foundations that have paid grants related to your cause.  You can also perform a reverse search and build a list of grantees similar to your organization.


Let’s say your fundraising team is looking for donors to support your college’s new engineering school in upstate New York.  You’ve exhausted your alumni search.  Now you’d like to find C-level executives in the New York Tri-State Area with an affinity to engineering and education.

First, let’s navigate to a dataset with company information such as Dun & Bradstreet or Thomson Reuters.  Here, we can input our city or local ZIP code, type “President” in the Job Title section, and select “Engineering/R&D” in the Job Function section.  From several hundred results, we can either explore each prospect individually or add the names to a PROscreen template and submit.

SEC / Insider Filings

Thomson Reuter’s Insider Filings dataset is a great resource for building wealth lists.  Over a specific time period, you can search for details on stock transactions.  Maybe you’re in San Francisco and you’d like to attract high net worth Silicon Valley shareholders for your tech-focused nonprofit.  You can build such a list by choosing specific filters for Transaction Size, Transaction Type (Gift, Sale, Purchase, etc.), and the Security Category (Common Stock, Preferred Stock, Employee Options, etc.).

Navigating the records in Insider Filings may seem daunting, but here’s an easy rule of thumb.  If the prospects on your list are actively buying stock, they may not have enough liquid assets to offer a major gift to your organization.  Or, if a prospect is actively selling stock, she may have enough cash on hand to make a donation.  Supplementary research and due diligence is critical.  You won’t know the full scope of your prospect’s financial and philanthropic situation until you have a clear picture of their combined propensity, affinity, and capacity.  Try submitting your list to PROscreen to generate this insight.

Matching Gifts

According to Charity Village, 65% of Fortune 500 companies have matching gifts programs.  In the Matching Gifts dataset, try building a list of companies with these programs in your local city or state.

Ever hear of the Golden Ratio?  For matching gifts programs, that translates to anything larger than 1:1.  While many companies have matching gifts programs, employees may not be aware of them.  Your next gift could bring in double, triple, or even quadruple your original ask amount.  After building a list of local companies with strong programs, you can then use this list to find their employees and encourage them to give.  This ensures a matching gift opportunity, and helps your donor’s major gift go further!

What other lists do you use when prospecting for new donors?  Let us know in the comments below.

About the author: Ryan McCarvill is iWave’s Content Manager.  He joined the iWave team in 2016. Ryan enjoys meeting and learning from nonprofit professionals, researching trends in the nonprofit community, and offering strategies for development teams to use iWave’s solutions to meet and exceed their fundraising goals.    

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