Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Researching prospective donors is essential

While speaking to a journalist doing research for an article on the growing sophistication of charitable fundraising efforts, I explained the essential role of "doing your homework" by researching prospective donors before beginning any solicitation.

The essence of every successful fundraising program is establishing and maintaining strong relationships with your supporters and cultivating relationships with prospective donors.

While she laughed at the analogy with online dating sites, she clearly understood the need for organizations to establish a prospect's linkage to their mission and vision, their ability to give to the non-profit as well as their level of interest in the organization's projects. Research is essential in establishing the Linkage, Ability and Interest (LAI).

Research is also critical in determining the "Five Rights" in soliciting a major gift:
The Right person asking the Right prospect at the Right time for the Right amount for the Right project.

If you're not incorporating research into your everyday activities, are you as successful in attracting funds as you could be?

Laura Mikuska


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi, Laura! I totally agree with you about researching prospective donors just as we research about our potential clients, before buying a house or starting up a business. I believe that by researching, we can find out about the donor's mission and vision which could be linked to the project's operation, therefore making the conversation and solicitation a success.

    In addition, using a software such as the Sage fundraising software is vital in storing financial and demographic information about the donors and the campaigns. Moreover, these applications would also be helpful in providing a structure for creating and managing campaign efforts and fundraising events. Nevertheless, major organizations are in need of volunteers to help them in their tasks like auditing and accounting. Nonprofit organizations are truly helpful in providing activities and events for different causes especially for the less fortunate people.