BLOG - The Most Unexpected Place to Find A Major Donor Prospect
Do you feel like there are no new prospects in your constituent pool and they are not being surfaced by your research department, engagement or annual giving teams? You need to hit your visit goals (with appropriate visits), have worked your current portfolio and need to find new prospects. Here is a simple but often overlooked option.
Review visits/contacts of former advancement professionals from your organization and start with those gift officers who you always hear about when talking to prospects, donors, or colleagues. We have all had visits where the person was a really good prospect, had capacity or was developing capacity, loved your organization, but the timing was not right for whatever reason - new job, new business, just married, kids headed to college, paying for weddings, etc. You enter your contact report, try to find a way to keep them connected, but likely, move on to the next prospect who is better positioned to make a gift or be a volunteer at the time.
What is the likelihood that we ever go back and re-evaluate where there are in their timing 2, 3, 5 or more years later. Given the average time that advancement officers stay in their role, not likely. It is also likely that you qualified this person at the time, so Research is likely not re-looking at them unless they make a bigger gift, provide new information or share a new job. So they sit and we never really identify if the timing is right or their capacity has changed. We just move on as a gift officer and an organization.
A lot of good qualification work has been done by qualified advancement professionals in all of our organizations and that information is sitting in our databases. How many of us set future appointments to review these "bad timing" prospects, especially if you are talking about a new business or kids going to college, which may take 4-6 years to change that timing?
Do you think there are some of these prospects in your prospect pool?