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Get more from your prospect research and screening efforts: Part Two


Good morning, DonorDreams readers! Tis the season, and like you I am slammed. I apologize for missing Tuesday’s post, but the day just slipped away from me. I’m very sorry. However, today’s post is the second part of the prospect/donor research and screening article from DonorSearch’s Sarah Tedesco. And it is VERY GOOD!!! Last week she wrote about screening and how it can help improve your special events. Today, she focuses in on how it can help you identify hidden planned giving prospects in your database. I hope you enjoy this morning’s post.  Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


5 Factors That Can Help You Identify a Planned Giving Prospect

When nonprofits talk about identifying a prospect’s giving capability, there is usually some variation on three points.

Capability can be evaluated based on a person’s philanthropic inclination, level of wealth, and connection to your organization.

That donor identification formula is used regularly for prospect research, and it works. Most often, organizations turn to this research when seeking out major giving candidates. But, there’s another type of donor that also deserves that level of investigation: planned giving donors.

If a nonprofit knows what to look for, it should have no problem locating planned giving prospects.

The following five factors are all identifying traits of planned giving donors.

These indicators are rooted in the above points (philanthropic interests, wealth, and tie to your organization), but have been tweaked to specifically help identify planned giving donors.

Factor One — Loyalty

loyaltyIn terms of traditional types of giving, past donations are strong indicators of future giving. That trend logically carries over to planned giving.

Leaving a planned gift is a way of securing a legacy, and those who donate such gifts are likely to want to have a legacy with an organization that they’ve had a strong connection to.

The correlation is clearly evidenced by the fact that during their lifetimes, 78% of planned giving donors contributed over 15 gifts to the organizations they allocated funds to in their wills.

Factor Two — Recipient of Your Nonprofit’s Service

clientsThis factor is in reference to those whom your organization positively affected. The range is fairly broad here. A planned gift might be left to a university by a dedicated alumnus. Similarly, a hospital might receive a planned gift from a grateful patient.

Cross reference your list of those who have benefited from your service and have also donated, and that can be the start to your search. Throw in some of the next few traits and you’re on your way to finding the perfect planned giving prospects for your organization.

Factor Three — Traditional Wealth Markers

wealthLet me start by stating in no uncertain terms that planned giving prospects do not have to be wealthy.

I repeat — planned giving prospects do not have to be wealthy.

We’ll get to that point in a moment for factor four, but for the time being, we should acknowledge that many planned giving donors are wealthy.

How do you check for these signs of wealth? Perform a wealth screening. You’ll be looking for real estate ownership, extensive political giving, stock ownership, and other similar indicators.

Factor Four — Has the Desire to Leave a Bigger Gift Than is Presently Possible

large giftFactor four encompasses the large gift loophole for planned giving donors. Although they are often comparable in size, unlike major gifts, planned gifts do not inherently require wealth.

Just because someone does not have the current expendable income that allows for large charitable gifts does not mean that the person is disinterested in giving those gifts.

Those who want a workaround for that obstacle can allocate a planned gift in their wills (also known as a bequest). That way, the funds go to the nonprofit when the donor no longer needs them.

If you want to build the kind of relationships that result in planned gifts in situations like these, your organization absolutely must have excellent stewardship. Nonprofits with successful planned giving programs follow top-notch donor retention practices.

Factor Five — Has Been an Ongoing Supporter of Your Organization

loyalty2You’ve probably noticed a theme among three of the traits listed above:

Candidates for planned giving are dedicated supporters.

Planned gifts are not left on a whim. The word planned is in the term! They come from people who have developed a bond to your cause, so you need to keep them in mind when considering prospects. Think beyond those who have made monetary gifts.

Look to:

Support of your nonprofit comes in many forms. Don’t forget that when you’re finding planned giving donors.

* * * *

Remember, when searching for planned giving prospects, it is not one, but all of these factors combined that will help you identify the best candidates. A planned giving prospect has more than one defining trait. They’re multi-dimensional donors, influenced to give because of a confluence of circumstances.

8% of individual giving comes from bequests. Ensure that your organization is receiving a part of that 8%. Now that you know the prospects you’re looking for, start seeking planned gifts.


sarahSarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

Get more from your prospect research and screening efforts: Part One


Good morning, DonorDreams readers! As many of you know, my work schedule has become challenging in recent months, and I’ve asked a number of “virtual online friends” to help me out with guest blog posts. Today’s post is from Sarah Tedesco, who is the Executive Vice President at DonorSearch. She talks about the role that donor and prospect screening can play in helping your special events raise more money. I hope you enjoy this morning’s post.  Here’s to your health!  ~Erik


 

3 Ways Prospect Research Can Help You Raise More Money from Events

Most nonprofits host at least one event annually. Even smaller nonprofits will typically make the push for one.

Cost per dollar raised (CPDR) is often the biggest factor in deciding on an event type. Smaller nonprofits with tighter budgets cannot afford to make the upfront investment for something like, say, a concert. Instead, they can opt for an event like a walk-a-thon. Each event has its merits. It comes down to individual circumstances.

Given the heavy emphasis on CPDR, nonprofits absolutely have to maximize fundraising in every aspect of the event. Prospect research is a valuable asset for such maximization.

See what a screening can do for your next event in the three benefits listed below.  

1. Teach You Valuable Information About Your Guest List

guest listSo you have your RSVP list. You know who is coming. What do you do with that information?

Hopefully, you use it! And by use it, I mean doing more than making sure you have everyone’s t-shirt size or dinner order. Both pieces of information are important for the flow and preparation of your event, but they’re not incredibly relevant to the task at hand — fundraising.

Twiddling your thumbs with a guest list in front of you is a missed opportunity. Research the attendees and learn about them before you see them.

Prospect screening can reveal so much about donors, like their:

  • Giving histories
  • Financial situations
  • Philanthropic interests
  • Business affiliations

Developing prospect profiles on all of your guests prior to the event will supercharge your staff’s ability to mix and mingle when the big night rolls around.

You might know some of the high-quality donors in attendance, but prospect research will help you round out the list. Once you know who is coming, create your VIP, very important prospect, list.

Your staff can study those individuals and make sure that they dedicate some time to stop by and check in with each VIP.

2. Point Out the Donors That Warrant Extra Post-Event Attention

follow upMuch like you can create a pre-event V.I.P. list, you can do the same after the event.

The post-event research can accomplish two tasks:

  1. Making up for the pre-event process if you didn’t perform an advance attendee screening.
  2. Finding the VIPs who weren’t on your initial list.

Your organization’s handling of event acknowledgments and follow-ups is crucial. You know this, so any information you can gather to improve the process should be welcomed with open arms. Well, open your arms to prospect research.

A high-attendance event, like a 5K, is going to have far too many participants for your staff to reach out to one-on-one afterwards. But, certain donors warrant that type of follow-up.

Consider an example scenario with a donor named Ron who attended your fundraising dinner and auction as a plus one. At the event, he ended up bidding on and winning one of your middle-of-the-pack auction items. You learned his name and various personal details through his auction win, and screened him after the fact.

Your post-event screening revealed that he’s a perfect candidate for planned giving. You now have a direction to go in after sending your acknowledgements.

Knowing what to send immediately after a contribution is easy…it’s a thank you. The next stages of building a communication stream require much more nuance and perspective. That’s when prospect research is so necessary.

3. Help You Adjust Your Event Strategies

strategic planning implementationAlbert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Insanity is a strong word, but you have to switch things up if your fundraising events aren’t bringing in enough money. That can mean adjusting the event itself or hosting an all new event. Choosing the latter option will take some effort, but there is no shortage of fundraising event ideas out there to get your mind going.

Rather than just guessing the solution to your issue, let prospect research lead you in the right direction. Have the data inform your plans.

Screen those you invited, those who RSVP’d, and those who attended. There’s going to be some overlap among those categories, but it won’t be all overlap.

Look for trends in your fundraising performance and commonalities among the various prospects you screen. To isolate the trends, you’ll need to analyze multiple years’ worth of participation.

For instance, your research could show that despite the fact that one of your events is largely populated by millennials, they’re collectively donating less than any other age group in attendance.

That could direct you to assess how you’re collecting donations. Maybe the event needs an online giving component. Maybe you need to optimize the process for mobile donating.

In another scenario, you may notice that an event you’ve hosted for five years draws a disproportionate percentage of small and mid-level gift donors as compared to major gift donors. If that event isn’t yielding enough funds, find ways to attract those missing major gift donors.

Whatever the solution you’re searching for, it starts with the data.

Attending industry conferences can also be another great source of insight into fundraising event best practices. For more information, here is a great list put together by IMPACTism of the upcoming conferences in 2016.

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As you can see, there’s a place for prospect research in any and all phases of an event. Incorporate the screenings into your other betterment techniques and see even greater results.


sarahSarah Tedesco is the Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

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