Guest Post by Meghan Jamison, Front Range Source
As a prospect researcher working for a fundraising consulting firm, I get to work with organizations of all sizes and missions every day. I love the variety and challenge of identifying hidden gems and uncovering potential in databases across the country.
Every organization and donor pool is as unique as it is fascinating, but if I were to ask major gift officers what their biggest wish was, they would all wish for the same thing:
“I wish I knew exactly how much to ask our prospect for!”
Good news—there is a way to make their wish come true: prospect research! And although a researcher can’t answer a fundraiser’s burning question with 100% accuracy, we can help them get so close it will feel as though we are their genie in a bottle.
Prospect research is so vital to defining the right ask amount, that Front Range Source wouldn’t recommend proceeding with a major gift without it. Some prospect researchers use formulas based on their findings to determine an ask amount or range, while others evaluate their findings and propose customized requests. My research philosophy has always been to tailor each recommendation to the organization, the prospect, and the fit I find between the two.
Critical Question: What would it take to move them beyond their comfort giving range?
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of rocks I turn over, but it’s a great place to start and a lot of this information can be found using iWave! Once I’ve outlined my story, I take a step back and objectively review all of my findings.
Developing my recommendation is 80% science and 20% art. Take the facts you know and pair them with your instincts – and have 100% confidence in your recommendation!
About the author: Meghan Jamison is Managing Associate at Front Range Source, which specializes in helping nonprofits get the resources they need to fulfill their mission. They offer fundraising planning, coaching and strategy. The team also help boards and staff to create strategic plans and board development efforts that move organizations further toward achieving their vision for a better world.
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