Research Strategies Anyone Can Use

Successful Fund Raising asked prospect researchers about strategies that any nonprofit could employ. The following list represents several responses:

  1. Network with current donors to review and rate prospects.

  2. Ask board members for background information on major donor prospects.

  3. Access public records of auto registrations - focus on luxury vehicles.

  4. Save newspaper clippings on businesses, individuals, and foundations of interest.

  5. Review plat maps to determine who owns real estate in your area.

  6. Compile a list of those who use your services or request information about your organization.

  7. Read obituaries for family information and memorial possibilities.

  8. Review a list of your nonprofit's vendors.

  9. Conduct telemarketing and/or personal visits with anyone who has contact with your agency.

  10. Visit the nearest local library branch of The Foundation Center.

  11. Complete standardized "contact reports" following visits to compile a historical file.

  12. Review the Foundation Directory to discover past foundation recipients and ranges of grants.

  13. Visit with former employees to learn of former clients (or, in some cases, alumni).

  14. Secure access to a city directory for occupations, titles, residences, phone numbers.

  15. Secure a state bank directory that lists boards of directors for each institution.

  16. Obtain personal contacts of board members and key volunteers.

  17. Coordinate focus group meetings to collectively discuss key prospects.

  18. Establish "advisory committees" in other communities to help identify local wealth.

  19. Review other agencies' lists of contributors.


- From Successful Fund Raising Vol. I. No. 8
Stephenson Consultants, P O Box 4528
Sioux City, IA 51104