Why New Nonprofits Should Care About Prospect Research

If you’re a seasoned prospect researcher, you already care about prospect research. But if you’re new to the industry, or if your nonprofit organization is less than 2 years old, you might not be aware of the benefits of fundraising intelligence.

Fundraising intelligence or prospect research is the technique of using data to understand your potential donor base. By using research, you can identify people who could be your next major donor. With a tool like iWave, you can also pinpoint donors who are not only philanthropic, but who care about your cause, and have the capacity to give.

Here are a few ways prospect research can help your nonprofit at any stage – make the right ask at the right time, to the right person.

Many nonprofits rely on fundraising

Fundraising is a major part of the budget for most nonprofits. But it’s not always easy to prioritize both fundraising and research strategies. Some organizations still fall into the “how hard can it be” attitude, which pushes them to reuse old solutions or copy what other organizations have used in the past.

According to Simone P. Joyaux, “It costs money to raise money. Remember that the body of knowledge, best practice, and research tell you where to focus your attention, how to invest your money, whose advice to follow, what to expect, and so much more.”

Get more major gifts with prospect research

Fundraising intelligence is proven to lead to more major gifts and can help any organization, no matter the size. By incorporating a tool like iWave into your prospect research process, you are always ready with an evidence-based major gift ask; delivered at the right time, to the right prospect. Without research, you’re taking a gamble. Remember – an uninformed ask may lead to an awkward, negative experience for you, your prospect, and your organization.

It’s always a good time for prospect research

The term “the more you know” started out as a catchphrase for public service announcements. But it’s actually a great commitment to learning. We are lucky to be in an industry of constant discovery. Research is about diving in and learning more. With a flexible research tool in your pocket, your nonprofit has the freedom to learn more at any stage of your fundraising cycle. It’s all about “the more you know”.

The best time to clean up your data, is when it’s already clean

Is there a better feeling than on the first day of school or a new job? Your new daily calendar is neat and organized. Desk is clean. Pens and office supplies are tidy in a mug or in a near-empty drawer. You feel prepared.

A new nonprofit has the benefit of clean data. Your donor database and customer relationship management system are new. Your employees haven’t developed any bad habits for data tracking. It’s like the first day of school. A blank slate.

As a new nonprofit, you have a great opportunity to build your research process and commit to learning all you can about your donor base, right from the beginning.


About the author: Liz Corney is iWave’s Content Marketing Manager. She has a degree in Journalism, is a fiercely positive team-player and a creative self-starter. She has experience working in software technology, video/mobile games, learning & development, social & traditional media, and communications. Liz is also the co-founder of a local nonprofit organization working to better the lives of homeless women in her community.

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