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Posts from the ‘PROSPECT RESEARCH’ Category

The Power of Big Data: Why the Numbers Matter

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By Jessica Sochol, Digital Content Strategist, Relationship Science

Any seasoned nonprofit fundraiser knows that recruiting and developing donor relationships requires a mix of hard and soft skills. Traditionally, the emphasis is on the soft: articulating the cause, recruiting supporters, inspiring passion and building relationships. As data about donors and marketing analytics becomes more plentiful, more minutely examined and more widely accessible, it’s no surprise that organizations are now also appreciating the importance of numbers in addition to handshakes when finding ways to increase their impact. Read more

Finding Access People is Key to Advance Major Gifts

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By Gil Israeli, Director of Prospect Research and Senior Writer, American Technion Society

Currently, appearing in APRA’s online magazine Connections, Volume 25, 1-Q1. The article is a review of Israeli’s session at APRA’s International Conference, August 2013.

Years ago, a fundraiser send me a research request with minimal data: an individual’s name and residence. He noted (with an exclamation point) that the family foundation had assets exceeding $100 million. Responding too quickly, I reviewed the list of grants for the past three years and placed each gift in one of three categories that I had decided represented the foundation’s giving: higher education, medical causes and social welfare. I generated statistics on the foundation’s interests and multi-year giving trends. Then, I listed board members, contributors to the foundation and changes in their investments. I sent this insightful research to the fundraiser and his response was to the point: “Great stuff, but what I need to know is how to access the foundation president.”

To download the entire issue click here: APRA – Connections Vol. 25, No. 1: Q1 2014

Additional articles in this issue include… Read more

A Critical Skill: Valuing Real Estate

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By Melissa Bank Stepno, Senior Consultant, Target Analytics, a Division of Blackbaud, Inc.

When I started my career in fundraising, I was trained with a simple formula: a $1 million home equated to a major gift prospect rating. Even as a budding prospect researcher, this simple formula didn’t quite ‘sit right,’ but it took me a few years to pull all the pieces together.

Due to the real estate market’s explosion and later bubble burst, national economic conditions, changes in mortgage company policies, new government regulations, and other factors, what someone’s home is worth today may or may not help a fundraiser understand its relative ‘value’ to the owner. Simply stated: not every major gift prospect lives in a million dollar home and not every million dollar home is owned by a major gift prospect. Read more

Learning Relationships, Love and Becoming a Major Gifts Fundraising Organization

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By Gil Israeli, Director of Prospect Research and Senior Writer, American Technion Society

What is one critical difference between an organization that has raised several major gifts and the organization that continuously raises major gifts… maintaining a growing major gifts program?

In brief,  the latter nurtures longevity in all its relationships and understands that longevity is the key to nurturance. And, specifically, it is learning relationships that elevate organizations to raise major gifts.

Today, having a major gifts fundraising program has become the outstanding priority (and sometimes wish) of many fundraising organizations. After all, you can spend two years raising small gifts of $5,000 to meet a $1,000,000 campaign goal, or, you can cultivate the same number of prospects all with $50,000 to $100,000 gift potential… and target a much higher campaign goal.

The strategy to achieving this requires multiple developments in your company culture… and a confluence of three critical persons in your operation: board members (which includes donors and volunteers), fundraisers and researchers. A healthy web of relationships here bears directly not only on your annual fundraising revenue but also the robustness and longevity of your organization.

Read more

Why Fundraisers and Prospect Researchers Should Talk More: Major Gift Prospects and the People Who Can Help You Reach Them

By Gil Israeli, Senior Writer and Director of Prospect Research, American Technion Society

Organizations that are successful at raising major gifts identify prospects with the right capacity and interests that fit their mission. They consider plausibility from the start – the critical element: Could the prospect enrich his or her life through a relationship with us and eventual gift?

Other questions include: Is the prospect over-committed? What do we know about his assets and more liquid wealth? How has the economy affected this? Identification tends to be the easier part, whereas securing the critical first meeting often requires the aid of a door-opener or “access person”.

Who is an access person? Read more