When most development professionals think of prospect research, the first things that often come to mind are wealth assessment and capacity to give. Don’t get me wrong – these are extremely important to a prospect profile. However, something that is often overlooked is the power of biographical information, and this goes for prospects and donors alike.
Coming from a background in fundraising before specializing in research, I had opportunities to speak and write to donors and prospects. How much easier would it be to connect with your constituents at events or over the phone if you already know some interesting tidbits of information about them? With biographical information from research, you can learn so much about a person. What if you already knew some basic information about their family, profession or where they volunteer? It gives you a unique position to ask the right questions and develop a real relationship with your donors.
How else can it help, you might ask? Connections. Research can help you connect constituents to one another, your board, or that big fish that you just couldn’t seem to hook. This also goes for foundations and corporations. Particularly with foundations that accept proposals by invitation-only, the only way to get your organization’s foot in the door is through your network of connections.
So the next time research comes up as a topic of conversation, consider going beyond wealth assessments. Make it known the importance the other pieces of the puzzle. If you need an extra hand getting started or don’t have time for the biographical research yourself, reach Brittany at firstname.lastname@example.org!