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How a Donor Research Tune-Up Can Help Development Pros with Tomorrow's Trends

January 19, 2022

As the year draws to a close, thoughts often turn to New Year’s resolutions. When it comes to development professionals, that often includes a resolution to do polish up the donor database. Given anticipated trends for 2022, could your donor research process use a few tweaks as well? In our report “Funding the Future,” we highlight four trends gaining traction in 2022. Let’s look at a few ways donor research processes can be strengthened to address them.

Trend: New funding sources to tap

Millennials began dominating the workforce a few years ago, but they’re also reaching the age where they’re wielding serious economic power. And Gen-Z may not have as much money at their disposal, but they’re already proving to be generous givers of both time and money.

As the Boomer generation shrinks, development professionals will want to better understand needs and expectations of younger audiences.

TIP: Broad research can give you a fresh perspective and reveal generational microtrends that help you develop compelling campaigns that inspire action by these new prospects.

Have a particular prospect in mind? While wealth indicators are important, understanding a prospect’s potential affinity for your organization’s mission is also crucial for driving engagement.

TIP: Donor research should cover whether an individual has a past involvement with your organization or a history of giving to similar ones. In addition, research into political contributions can offer insights into a prospect’s priorities and how they may align with your organization.

Trend: Merging for more impact

Mergers and acquisitions may be more common in the corporate world, but M&A activity in the non-profit sector is starting to grow. Smaller organizations are finding value in pooling resources when they have a shared mission. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review points out, “When executed well, non-profit M&A can bring together complementary programs, reduce redundancies, and retain critical talent and movement infrastructure.”

Mergers aren’t the only option, of course. Organizations can collaborate less formally at a community or regional level or engage in short-term, mission-driven partnerships.

TIP: Start your research with board members of like-minded organizations. Even if the organization itself is not an M&A prospect, board members often have strong professional and personal networks. Connecting with others committed to a similar mission can help you find opportunities to collaborate or combine forces more easily.

Before joining forces with another organization, however, it’s important to conduct due diligence—and not just on the organization.

TIP: Donor research that includes a negative news search on big ticket donors associated with potential partners can help you make informed decisions that protect the reputation of your organization.

Want to know more about these trends, as well as Gaming for Good and the Future of Work? Download our trend report today!