The Mikuska Group  

Prospect research: a fundraiser’s best friend

I can just hear the groaning and imagine the eye-rolling from fundraisers now – why do I have to do research? Can’t I just go out and ask for money? Research is boring – I’m a “people person”!

Well, why is it a good idea to do research?

Research assists in the development of relationships and fundraising is a relationship business. It allows you to:

  • make effective and informed decisions about your prospects and donors
  • target only those prospects with an interest in your organization
  • develop a cultivation and solicitation strategy to make an ask appropriate to the prospect’s ability to give

Most donors are pretty savvy these days, and will expect you to have done your homework. Prepare yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised at your next donor meeting.

A word of caution – don’t get paralyzed by the notion of finding out “everything” about a donor before picking up the phone. Once you’ve gathered enough to make some decisions, call and set a time to meet, or invite them down to see what impact you’re having on the community. Then use your “people skills” and build the relationship.

Laura Mikuska


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