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How Donor Prospecting Technology Can Streamline Your Giving Season Workflow

October 10, 2023 (5 min read)
The right technology can make your donor prospecting research more efficient

According to The Nonprofit Times, in 2022 the US nonprofit community raised $ 3.1 billion on Giving Tuesday alone. Despite many challenges facing this sector, these months are still a massive opportunity for your nonprofit. That’s why it’s essential to streamline donor research. The faster you identify prospective donors, the faster you’ll reach your fundraising goals.

It’s important to create a donor prospecting workflow to stay on top of your donor research, especially at this crucial time of year. In this article, we'll review how technology can make the donor prospecting process easier--from researching donors to crafting the right story to nail your ask. 

Researching donors

When researching prospective donors, it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in a sea of information. The sheer volume of data out there is overwhelming, and it can be difficult to even know where to begin, especially when you have other tasks that need your time and attention. That’s why using a donor research software is crucial. These tools not only help screen donors, but you can apply filters to dig deeper, getting a fuller picture of them, or set automated alerts to circle back with an ask. 

For example, a tool like Nexis for Development Professionals can connect the dots across 45,000+ sources, drawing on 86 billion public records*, to bring all this information into a single view. In donor profiles, you’ll access public and private data to gain insights regarding their career, philanthropic history, interest, location, and propensity to give. This allows you to get a complete picture of a prospect while filtering out any extraneous data that could make your research take more time.

Segmenting donors

So, you’ve researched existing and prospective donors…now what? Creating donor profiles allows you to connect millions of data points across news, business, and legal sources to create a comprehensive picture of a donor. You can then use donor profiles to segment donors based on things like income, education, interests, donation history, gift size, interests, or location.

This becomes important during donor outreach because it allows you to personalize your asks. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for you to invite out of town supporters to an in-person event, but they might like to join a livestream event to support the cause. Segmenting donors also saves time—you can communicate with segments as one entity, personalizing your communications without having to send each message individually.

Perhaps most importantly, segmenting donors and personalizing your asks is known to help increase donor retention rates. This is incredibly efficient in the long run, as it is ten times more expensive to attract a new donor than to keep an existing one. Segmenting donors builds a stronger, more personal connection to your organization, and allows both existing and prospective donors to feel seen.

Refine your data

Inaccurate data can waste time and lead to missed opportunities. Be sure to update your CRM to remove duplicate profiles and lapsed donors from your records. You’ll also want to validate donor financial information, contact information, and employment information for all existing and prospective donors so you can make timely, appropriate asks.

There’s nothing worse than not being able to reach an important donor or asking for too little simply because you don’t have the correct financial information on file.

Do your due diligence

No one wants to think of the worst-case scenario: that your nonprofit might be offered a donation from a less than desirable source. While rare, this can and does happen, and can leave your organization vulnerable to bad press or even legal action. Prospect research is just the beginning—you’ll want to follow up and do your donor due diligence for major gifts, using a donor research software like Nexis Diligence+.

Accepting donations comes with specific risks for nonprofits, since donors need to align with your mission and values. This includes accepting donations from companies with a low ESG ranking, or even worse, from a sanctioned organization. You’ll also want to screen any prospective board members to check their criminal record for anything that might be a red flag (embezzlement, for example).

A comprehensive due diligence tool can assess ESG impact for most major companies, search court records and criminal records, and sanctioned business and watch lists. Ideally you want a software with access to global lists, like OFAC and FBI lists in the US, and HM treasury in the UK.

Use storytelling to connect with prospective donors

When you do eventually reach out to donors with an ask, remember that storytelling is a powerful tool to connect them to your cause. 97% of donors cite impact as the reason they give, so you’ll want to show them how their contributions make a difference in the community you serve. Most organizations have hundreds of inspiring stories to share, but it’s best to focus on one or two personal accounts that exemplify what donations can do.

Did your scholarship program help a twelfth grader afford college or another opportunity they might’ve missed out on? How did your food bank help a family struggling during the pandemic? What does your arts nonprofit mean to an underfunded school? Creating social media content around these stories, or simply sharing with a prospective donor, can help your donors connect to your cause on a profoundly human level.

Make your research work for you

Working in nonprofits means you're busy all year long, not just in Giving Season. Take one thing off your plate by streamlining your research with Nexis® for Development Professionals and Nexis Diligence+™

With Nexis for Development Professionals as your donor management and research platform, you have the data and intuitive functionality you need to efficiently find donors, engage them, and hit—or even maybe surpass—your fundraising targets. By taking care of the hard work of research and data collection, Nexis for Development Professionals clears your schedule to do more of what you love--engage your donors and fulfill your mission. Then, with Nexis Diligence+, you can easily assess the risk of working with any prospect, which will save you time and money in the long run. 

Learn how it works by scheduling a free demo today