Best Practices for Qualifying Donor Prospects

donor relations Feb 23, 2021

Who is your ideal donor? Why does it matter?

If you put together a set of criteria describing your ideal donor, grantor, or corporate giver, you’ll save a huge amount of time that you might otherwise waste chasing prospects that don’t have the money or the motivation to support you. That’s time you can’t get back.  To avoid this level of waste, document your selection criteria.

  • Write down the characteristics of your “ideal” donor. Start with the standard criteria, such as age, gender, address, giving history, net worth, etc.
  • Include motivations for giving, not just wealth profile and giving history. Figure out why your best donors give to you today and use that information in your profile.
  • Use your qualifying criteria early in the relationship, to figure out how much time and energy the prospect justifies.
  • Stop attempting to cultivate funding prospects that offer little value in return for your efforts.

Base your criteria on your best or favorite current donors/funders. Those are the ones you want to clone. If you don’t have funders in a category yet, make an educated guess, and then refine your guesses from experience.

Develop an ideal donor profile for individuals, businesses, and foundations. And measure prospective new donors/funders against this profile before deciding what steps and how much time you will send pursuing these donors. Don’t put a lot of time and effort into cultivating prospects that don’t fit your criteria. It takes real discipline to ignore or put less time into the ones that don’t fit your ideal profile, but make the effort; you’re just throwing away your time if you chase them.

And don’t forget to set goals in each category—individuals, businesses, and foundations. How many current donors in each category do you expect to retain, how many new donors do you need in each category, and how many of the current donors in each category would you like to upgrade? What you measure is what you get, and what you don’t measure, you don’t get. So, if you fail to issue specific targets for new-funder income and for numbers of new funders per category, you end up undercutting your own efforts.

To learn more about identifying donors, take my course, Build Donor Relations that Lead to Major Gifts. Sign up here



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