The Four Components of Campaign Screening and Research
Mention the word “campaign” and it virtually becomes synonymous with “database screening.” Once your organization has decided to embark on a campaign -- be it a capital campaign, an endowment campaign or a campaign for a very specific project -- a database screening is on the horizon.
Screening helps identify new prospects in your database; provides clearer, more concise information on your known prospects; helps organizations prioritize prospects; and enables segmentation of prospects.
Campaign screening and research is a four-part process that involves timing; compatibility and capability; selection; and roll out.
1. Timing. In an ideal world, a screening would be done before the campaign begins to help the feasibility consultants target your top prospects to take part in the study. These are the people you’re going to look to for your start-up gifts, and it’s important to be asking the right people before you start the campaign.
Once your organization decides to go ahead with the campaign, you’ll need to identify existing and new prospects to support the campaign. Screening will provide wealth and inclination information for a large pool of names and will release a rush of information.
Depending on the campaign’s time frame, it’s a good idea to get a screening done once you’ve established your lead gift and have roughly 50 percent to 75 percent of your major gifts in. You’ll need a fresh influx of names to flesh out the rest of the gift pyramid.
2. Compatibility and capability. You need to make sure the information being returned is compatible with your database. Decide beforehand as to what information you’re going to upload into your database to ensure a seamless integration. Decide on codings to ensure consistent reporting. For example:
* Giving capacity (A through J, with A signifying a giving capacity of $25,000 and up, and J being a capacity of $0 to $5,000).
* Attachment scores ranking from one to five, with one being the most attached and five the least.
* Echelon scores (E1 through E18, with E1 being the highest ranking and E18 the lowest).
* Establish fields for “internal” ratings and “external” ratings.
3. Selection. Some sample criteria for selection if you choose to not screen your entire database are:
* By age (e.g., if planned giving is not a primary focus for this campaign, perhaps focus on people ages of 33 to 68).
* By cumulative giving to your organization (the rationale being that those who have already given have already “bought” into your organization).
* By high title/position.
* By private company ownership.
* By ZIP codes.
4. Roll out. Prioritize names by starting with the high-capacity/high-attachment and high-capacity/medium-attachment codes. Immediately roll out those names that have high to medium match scores. Start verifying the names with low match scores.
Encourage your front-line fundraisers to make cold calls to the newly discovered prospects with high capacity ratings.
Come up with a strategy and energize your campaign screening and research efforts by being a presence at the prospect-management team meetings. Be sure to segment prospects by constituency/geographic area/profession/high title and measure which names are viable prospects for cultivation and which should be “de-listed” from portfolios. Monitor the list regularly to maintain focus on the process, and work to ensure that the names are kept moving through the cycle by developing a pipeline report.
Miriam Wazeter is director of prospect research at Pace University in New York. She can be reached via www.pace.edu