Online Prospect Research Tips
Large nonprofits have the luxury of employing a prospect researcher, but what about fundraisers who don’t have an in-house pro? Sophisticated researchers can check several dozen Web sites while preparing an in-depth profile, but development officers can find simple facts about their donors by themselves, simply by searching several key Web sites. Below is a list of sites that development professionals can employ from their desktops to help answer some key questions in an organization’s search for information on its prospects.
* How can I verify someone’s address and telephone number?
Web site: www.zabasearch.com
By entering the first and last name of a donor at Zabasearch, fundraisers can find an address and phone number. If the name is a common one, you can limit the search by state. This site has additional features, too. Some of the entries give the month and year of birth. If you click on “County,” you might even link to the local assessor’s Web site, so you can find the value of property owned by the prospect.
* How can I get a foundation tax return online?
Web site: http://lnp.fdncenter.org/finder.html
The Foundation Center’s Web site enables you to search for foundations by grant-maker name. Enter the full or partial name of the foundation, click “Find,” and view basic information about it. Another click on “Most Recent IRS Filing” will take you to the 990-PF, which has a list of grants. A new feature at Foundation Finder is the ability to search for foundations by city, state or ZIP code. Check to see if there are local foundations that you aren’t aware of.
* How can I look up the current price of a stock?
Web site: http://finance.yahoo.com
Yahoo! Finance is one of many Web sites that give stock quotes in real time. Enter the stock symbol in the “Get Quotes” box (or do a Symbol Lookup) and click “Go.” You can learn much more about the stock you’re searching, too, such as its dividend and its 52-week range. (Ask donors to make stock gifts when the price is near its high). On the left are many links for the company, including headlines, a profile and even insider transactions. It also is interesting to look at the chart of the company’s stock performance. Go for the max and you can see how your prospect’s stock has performed over the years.