Prospect research is critical in securing corporate & foundation gifts. In every gift I’ve helped secure, I cannot underestimate the effort I’ve invested in understanding the “giving pulse” of a corporate or foundation entity. Here are some useful takeaways from discussions among prospect researchers and corporate & foundation staff at a recent CASE conference:
- Ask intelligent questions. From where did my peer institutions get funding?
- What personal connections do we have with the corporation or foundation?
- Zero in on who else got what?
- Network with peers at similar organizations.
- Study the vendor list thoroughly.
- Analyze prospects based on institutional priorities, prospect fit and grant amount.
- Do not spend too much time on prospect research. If it’s a good fit you will be able to find that out in an hour.
- Inform faculty or others seeking funds quickly if your research yields less prospect for funding.
- Check giving averages carefully. The mean is tricky, so focus on the typical grant that was given to an organization that was like yours.
- Always ask: What problem are you trying to solve? What opportunities are you going to seize?
- Do not talk money first, instead focus on the problem and find a solution.
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