Do you wish you raised more money from individuals? If so, what’s stopping you?
I often hear from my clients that they don’t know where to start. If you’re stuck because you don’t know where to start, the first step is to identify potential donors or prospects.
Some Simple Ways to Identify Potential Donors
There are a handful of simple ways to identify prospects for your organization.
Check your data
The first step is to check your database for your current donors. In order to do this, you will want to run reports from your database and look for several things:
- Largest donors
Run reports to identify those who gave one time large gifts last year (and the year before) as your largest givers over the course of the year (cumulative giving).
- Loyal donors
Identify donors at any level (even $10 per year) who have given for 5 or more years.
These donors are going to be your best individual giving prospects, because they already have an affinity for the organization and are showing it by donating money. Make a list of your top 30 prospects from your database, comprised of your 20 top donors and your top 10 loyal donors (i.e., a smart combination of longevity and gift amount).
Ask your board and staff
Regardless of whether or not you have a long list from your database, you will also want to ask your board and staff members for names of their friends and colleagues who might be interested in your organization. It’s important to emphasize that you won’t be asking their friends for money, unless they express a genuine interest in your organization. Before even considering asking their contacts for money, you would like them to help make introductions to the organization and raise friends for the organization, by bringing people on tours, to events, getting them to volunteer, etc.
Take a look at this interesting article by Hildy Gottlieb on the importance of having board members raise friends for your organization (as opposed to raising funds). Boards & Fundraising: Why Board Members Don’t Want to Do It and What They Can Do Instead
Once you’ve identified prospects for your organization, you’re on your way to raising money from individuals for your cause and organization.
What’s the Next Step?
The next step in the fundraising process involves cultivation. See my post on How to Cultivate Prospects and Build Lasting Relationships.
How do you identify prospects at your organization? And, if you’re not identifying potential donors, why not? Tell me about it in the comments and I’d be happy to offer some advice.