5 Simple Prospect Research Identification Lists You Can Build Right Now

Are you a list person? If you are, you may have heard of a new strategy called “batching.”

The concept is, instead of writing down to-dos as they pop into your head, you organize similar tasks and complete them together in one fell swoop. The batch technique helps you segment your work, achieve deep focus, and maximize your working time.


So what can this productivity strategy possibly have in common with prospect research? As Marge King explains in a previous guest post, no two prospects are the same. However, you can still identify prospects with similar propensity, affinity, and/or capacity ratings and group them together. That’s where prospect lists come into play.

The datasets within iWave provide countless opportunities to create lists for your donors and prospects. Together, we’re going to break down five prospect lists you can build to segment your donors and highlight how you can build them in iWave right now.

List building starts with your organization’s goals. You can start by defining your ideal donor profile and building lists of similar individuals. Or, maybe you are starting a new campaign or project and have a specific type of donor in mind. Building prospect lists has many valuable outcomes, including the identification of new prospects.

Now it’s time to search.


Executive List

Let’s say your fundraising team is looking for donors to support your university’s new engineering school in San Francisco. You’ve exhausted your alumni search, and now you’d like to find C-level executives in your community with an affinity to engineering and education. First, let’s navigate to a dataset with company information such as Dun & Bradstreet. 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 Create Multiple iWave Profiles with a batch upload of 50 names at a time. Creating this particular prospect list took less than five minutes.

Foundation List

If you read our last blog post, you know researching foundations similar to your nonprofit can have a tremendous impact on attracting donors with an affinity to your cause. In the Foundations and Public Charities dataset by Guidestar, you can build a list of foundations based on a number of criteria including geography, foundation type, and category (healthcare, education, etc,) to identify the foundation’s employees and decision makers. Your organization could also apply for major grants from these foundations.

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.

Donations List

In iWave’s own VeriGift dataset, you can build lists for donors, recipients, and specific types and values of donations. Imagine your New York-based health care institution is launching a major gifts campaign. You’ve already reached out to foundations, and now you want to focus on individual major 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 $50,000 and $500,000 made in the last 10 years. From here, you can delve deeper to identify the top prospects and determine giving trends over time for both those individuals and the entire group.

Prospects of Wealth List

Prospects of Wealth (PoW) is the dataset for list building. Powered by Larkspur Data, PoW helps you create lists for high net worth individuals. You can search across age ranges and net worth levels starting at a minimum of $500,000. In the Evidence of Wealth section, you can choose from a number of categories, from “Executives” to “Major Gift Donors” to “Yacht Owners”. As in other datasets, you can search across the country, or narrow your search to your local area.

The lists you can build in Prospects of Wealth are an excellent starting point. However, the lists you create in PoW are mostly indicative of baseline capacity. If you want a complete picture, we recommend supplementing your list with records from the Donations (VeriGift) and Real Estate (CoreLogic, Manifold) datasets. This way, you can calculate an accurate iWave Score based on a combination of propensity, affinity, and baseline capacity.

SEC Filings List

Just like Prospects of Wealth, iWave’s SEC Filings dataset can be a great resource for building lists based on wealth. Over a specific time period, you can search for details on stock transactions. Perhaps you’re based in Cupertino, CA and you’d like to attract high net worth Apple Inc. shareholders for your technology-focused nonprofit. You can build a list of this type of individual 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 SEC Filings may seem complex, 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. Like with Prospects of Wealth lists, 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.


Building prospect lists is only the beginning of the prospect research process. However, when you segment and group prospects with similar characteristics, it is easier to prioritize your most valuable prospects. In this sense, the batch method can be an excellent technique to improve your team’s efficiency and effectiveness. Organizing your prospects in this way gives you more time to perform in-depth research, verify records, and plan your next steps for cultivation and solicitation.


To learn how to build lists focusing on Canadian prospects, read our next blog post.

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