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The Donor Research Checklist For Small Nonprofits

What’s the best way to ensure a successful fundraising campaign? Some would argue that donor research should be on the top of that list, and they would have a point. More information about donors means your fundraisers will have a better idea about how to approach them.

While large nonprofits usually have full-time researcher on-staff, it can be a little bit harder for smaller organizations to find room in their budget for donor research. That’s why Ann Rosenfield, executive director of The WoodGreen Foundation, offered some tips to help these organizations reap the benefits of this research without breaking the bank. 
She wrote the following checklist in the Winter 2013 edition of Advancing Philanthropy:
  • Hire a researcher, even if just for a while: This will enable managers
    to focus on the technical aspects of fundraising while research crunches
    the numbers.
  • Pay for a research database service: This allows for quick look-ups of
    prospective donors recommended by the board, events, and potential board
    members.
  • Remember that information on foundations is free: This information is easily accessible online on such sites as Foundation Center.
  • If possible, use data analytics: This allows the organization to see how
    analytics work and keep track of these findings on a spreadsheet.
  • Identify new prospects: Having a researcher means being able to seek out new prospective clients who will give.
  • Don’t forget that the organization’s small size is actually a strength:
    The small size of is an asset in that it allows research to be done on a
    more personal level.


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