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What is prospect research?

Today, we’re answering one of your most frequently asked questions: what is prospect research?

Let’s dive in.  Put simply, prospect research is the process of gathering information about potential donors or supporters. It can help you make the most of your supporter database, find new prospects, or secure funding from grant-makers. 

How does prospect research work?

The term prospect research can cover many different types of research, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll break it down into three steps.

Identify potential donors

    The first step in prospect research is identifying potential donors, also known as ‘prospects.’ These could be individuals, businesses, trusts or foundations likely to donate to your charity.

    Understand your prospects

      Now that you have a list of potential donors, it’s time to get to know them better. This step involves conducting research to understand who your prospects are, what they care about, their potential capacity to donate and their connection to your cause.

      Develop a personalised approach

        Use the information you’ve gathered to tailor your communications to each prospect’s interests. For instance, if a prospect is passionate about education, highlight your charity’s projects related to education when you reach out to them.

        How do I do prospect research?

        Tell your supporters

        If you want to conduct prospect research at your organisation, you’ll need to start by telling your supporters about it. You can do this through your privacy notice. Make sure it’s fit for purpose and informs your supporters about how their data might be processed in line with GDPR guidelines. 

        Make your privacy notice accessible

        Your privacy notice needs to be clearly accessible to your supporters via your website and on any sign-up forms or mailing lists that collect their data. Always share it with new or potential supporters whenever you can.  Keep your supporters in the loop when you make changes to your privacy notice, and make sure it’s easy for them to opt out of any specific aspects of your processing. 

        Define your objectives

        Next, you need to clearly define your objectives so you know what you want to achieve with your research. Are you looking for donors to support an existing project? Or are you seeking funds to expand the scope of your work? Having clear objectives will help guide your prospect research and make it easier for potential donors to understand where their money will be going.

        Know your audience

        Finally, before beginning prospect research, it’s important to have a rough idea of your audience. Are they professionals, retired individuals, or corporate CEOs? Understanding their demographics will help you tailor your prospect research and fundraising strategies effectively.

        Prospect research is a powerful tool for charities. By effectively identifying, understanding, and engaging potential donors, you can build better relationships and ensure your fundraising efforts are targeted, personalised, and successful.

        At Prospecting for Gold, we specialise in research, wealth screening, consultancy, and regulatory compliance, making fundraising more effective and successful. Contact us today to find out how we can help you on your fundraising journey.