How Fundraising Intelligence Should Work

“Work Smarter, Not Harder” is a phrase we hear often in the nonprofit world. It’s all about finding new, innovative ways of doing things to decrease the quantity, and increase the quality, of your work. It means minimizing tasks and extra steps so that you can use your time wisely to achieve more. Rather than spinning your wheels with outdated fundraising and research techniques, get the full picture of major gift prospects by implementing fundraising intelligence. 

What is Fundraising Intelligence? 

As the world of fundraising evolves every day, and opportunities for interactions increase, it’s imperative for fundraisers and prospect researchers to have the technology to access data, knowledge, and connections. Fundraising intelligence is a holistic approach to finding major gift prospects. Fundraising intelligently means you have the resources and efficiency you need to make the right ask, to the right person, at the right time.  

Helen Brown with the Helen Brown Group explained it best: “Fundraising intelligence is business intelligence for nonprofits. We’re the knowledge epicenter. We provide information about prospective donors and help organizations manage their systems so they can build stronger relationships with their donors.” In short, fundraising intelligence provides you with the intel you need to analyze your data, identify top prospects, and make more educated gift asks.

Related: Get the Fundraising Intelligence Infographic

How Fundraising Intelligence Should Work

To find major gift prospects for your organization’s mission, a holistic approach is necessary. Researching solely for wealth indicators won’t give you the full picture of a major gift prospect. Neither will screening only external records or mining just your own database. A fundraising intelligence platform is a one-stop-shop for all things prospect development. Therefore, this solution should incorporate a mix of both internal and external research to create a complete picture of your prospect.  

With the right fundraising intelligence platform, you should be able to: 

  • Screen, segment, and prioritize your database: Your fundraising intelligence solution should offer donor wealth screening that enables you to segment hundreds or thousands of individuals you know very little about into a prioritized list based on their capacity and inclination to give to your organization. It’s important to keep your specific fundraising goals in mind and work with tools that are customizable to those goals.
  • Validate and research: Your solution should first and foremost be transparent. This means providing users with the capability to review the records used to generate scores and ratings for the prospects on your list and the ability to add information and refresh results at any time. The wealth and philanthropic data in your fundraising intelligence solution should be comprehensive and trustworthy, including information on individuals, businesses, and foundations to help you identify new donors and learn more about your current donors. 
  • Share your findings: Your solution should compile your list of prospects so that it can easily be shared amongst team members. This will empower your team to feel confident in their next major gift ask. 

Your fundraising efforts no longer have to be based only on guesswork and assumptions. With a fundraising intelligence platform at your side, your major gift asks will be backed up by data and research. You and your team will make informed, evidence-based major gift asks that will result in raising more major gifts, more efficiently.


About the author: Madelyn Deveau is the Acting Content Marketing Manager at iWave. She has a degree in public relations and has found her niche in the behind-the-scenes aspects of her field. A social media enthusiast and communications specialist, Madelyn uses her skillset to create engaging content and brand awareness. Madelyn is creative, curious, and constantly motivated to learn from her experiences and the people around her.




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