Prospect Research Challenges, From a Pro
While nothing can replace the effectiveness of face-to-face interactions when trying to get to know people, now more than ever, data on donors and prospects is easier to gather without ever meeting them.
This offers fundraisers opportunities as well as challenges. Shannon Schambeau, manager of donor relationship management for the Special Olympics and co-presenter of a session on using demographic data to acquire and upgrade donors at the Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C. last month, recently spoke with me about the main prospect research challenges she faces at her organization.
Schambeau says the issue she’s had in terms of prospect research is having complete data on donors. The organization has addressed this issue by working to clean up its database and make it as useful as possible so it has only the most clear, concise information about its donors.
In its upgrading efforts, Special Olympics has begun creating “passion profiles” for a lot of its donors in addition to wealth overlays. Passion profiles rate donors based on about 20 different scoring measures. The combination of a wealth overlay and rating donors in this way helps Schambeau and Special Olympics’ development staff pick the donors who have the highest giving potential and those who have the most affinity or passion for the organization and to target them accordingly.
Schambeau says the most important things for organizations to do to improve their prospect research efforts is to maintain a clean database, do a wealth overlay on prospects and choose lists with individuals who give to organizations similar to theirs.
Shannon Schambeau can be reached via www.specialolympics.org