How not to leave cash on the table

Margaret King has a suggestion for how to secure a gift without leaving “a wad of cash on the table when you walk out the door.”

It’s two words: prospect research.

“A few years ago, one of my clients requested rush research on a prospective donor,” she wrote in a 2007 article. “The client, a development officer at an independent school, explained that the headmaster was planning to meet with a parent to ask for a gift. He believed that the prospective donor had the capacity to make a $300,000 gift, but the development officer thought the number might be higher.

“The completed research supported my client’s feeling; the school revised its strategy and asked for a $1 million gift. The meeting was a great success — the donor agreed to make a gift totaling $1.3 million over a three-year period!

“Without understanding the donor’s capacity to give, my client would have received a much smaller gift, and the donor might not have felt as connected to the school.

“Prospect research should be considered the invisible yet indispensable arm of a major-gifts program. It helps you understand a prospective donor’s giving capacity, among other things.”

Whether gifts to your organization are like this one or are more modest, the point is that a certain amount of research can draw big dividends. Kris Hunt, who directs research at the Oregon State University Foundation, is coming to MVDP Oct. 25 to describe how prospect research works and how it can help any organization, even on a smaller scale.

The meeting starts at 3 p.m. in the Dye House at the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill, 1313 Mill St. SE., Salem. If you plan to attend, please be sure to register at www.mvdp-or.org. Season pass holders have already paid. The fee for guests who register in advance is $30. The fee at the door is $40.

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This entry was posted in annual giving, charitable intent, donor cultivation, donor management, donors, fundraising, major gifts, philanthropy, planned giving, prospect research, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How not to leave cash on the table

  1. Arminda says:

    Great blog, John!

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