Tips To Manage Your Prospect Research Data

In today’s nonprofit world, using software to fundraise is the norm. For all the good technology brings however, sometimes it seems to complicate lives more than simplify them. Even if your organization uses just one tool, knowing how and when to organize data is tricky.

Whether you’re a large organization, mid-size shop, or a small nonprofit just starting out, we have a few recommendations on how to manage your fundraising and prospect research data.


As an example, rather than posting the same social media posts to every platform, organizations often use an integration for that. This allows a seamless flow of content between platforms, with little hands-on management from the social media team.

The same goes for data and donor management. If there is an opportunity for an integration, try to take full advantage of it. Your donor data most likely sits in at least a few different places. The more those systems work together, the better.

Many Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) and Donor Management Systems (DMS) are equipped with various integration capabilities. And even if they aren’t, there are usually other ways of making your systems work together. Get your tech team involved, they’ll know what to do!

Don’t forget about AI!

Did you know that solutions like Gravyty’s AI-enabled offerings can help you leverage donor data and make sure you are acting on the right person at the right time with personalized outreach? Though AI is relatively new to the development space, it is transforming the way development teams build relationships with their supporters.

You can learn more about iWave’s integration partners here.

Data Entry Processes

You may have an entire data entry team at your fingertips or perhaps it’s just you. Either way, articulating a process for how data is both entered and stored is important for consistency and clarity across your organization. Setting up the proper processes now will especially help as your team grows!

If you are working with a team of people, a great way to make sure all individuals are on the same page is by appointing a CRM or DMS administrator. That way, one person calls the shots on exactly how and when the data is entered.

Be sure to to answer these questions about your data process:

  • How many systems are storing information?
  • Are these systems connected?
  • Who is entering information into your system(s)?
  • What information are you tracking about your donors? Is this written down somewhere for others on your team?

Data Maintenance

You’ll want to make sure data, in any system, is as up-to-date as possible. This might mean ongoing manual maintenance to clean up old lists of donors, or a batch process to update information.

With a tool like iWave, you can create profiles on each prospective major gift donor. You can also refresh these profiles and their scores at any time to make sure you are acting on the most up-to-date information.

We also recommend to screen, screen, screen! This will give you an in-depth look into current donor information and allow you to easily make priority prospect lists. These key tasks can be done as often as necessary and will help keep your data fresh.

Tell me again, why are we doing this?

Always remind yourself why you’re doing this work. It’s easy to get get bogged down in the details and forget about your goals. Managing data isn’t always the most fun part of the job. But if your goals are the focal point, the bigger picture can be the force that drives your team to better organization and better data management.

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.

Stay Up-to-date on Fundraising News and Resources

Want a Free Demonstration of iWave’s Fundraising Intelligence Platform?

Request a Demo