Screening Sessions for Major Donors
Next, try to determine ability -- what could this person give to the organization if so motivated? Without revealing confidential information, the screening committee members can “guestimate” the person’s net worth and/or income.
Then try to determine interest. Does this person have knowledge of your organization? Is this a cause he’s known to support? Is there a specific program that would interest him?
As each name is discussed, complete the form with the linkages, ability and interest named. The advantage of this method is that there is discussion and consensus; the disadvantage is that some people feel uncomfortable discussing prospects.
2. The closed screening session. This method is very similar to the first, except that instead of discussing each prospect among the group, participants in the session are asked to complete the answers to the linkage, abillity and interest sections to the best of their own knowledge. Each person works independently without discussion among the group.
Lists are then collected, and the person in charge reviews the lists and determines the consensus of opinion. The advantage of this method is that people often feel freer to comment on prospects if they’re doing it confidentiallly; the disadvantage is that once the lists are collected, there is a lot of gueework and perhaps follow-up to clarify what a screener has written. Without the open discussion, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out why one person thought a prospect had the ability to give $1 million and another suggested $10,000.
3. The private screening session. This method is similar to the first, except that it is held one on one with a staff member and a screening committee member. The list is reviewed with screening committee members one at a time in the privacy of their offices or homes.
It’s easier to schedule people at their convenience than to get them all together in one room. The open discussion takes place between the staff and the screening committee member. The disadvantages are that it takes a lot more staff time to meet with screening committee members individually and, again, the lack of open discussion could mean follow-up to clarify major differences of opinion.