Tag Archives: relationship management system

Can you Achieve Faster-Better-Cheaper Profiles?

“I need a profile on this person today…can’t you just Google it?” It’s the kind of question that makes prospect research professionals cringe. But why shouldn’t a development officer want it faster, better, and cheaper? Why is your organization paying thousands of dollars a year for research tools if it still takes forever to get the information needed?

So what’s happening to cause this disconnect between development officer and prospect researcher? I suspect there a few causes, but first, let me tell you a story…

As a consultant I charge a flat fee for projects. I want my clients to be able to budget, and as a professional I should have a fair idea of how long it will take to do the research. Profile-type research falls into this category. And it’s this kind of pressure that keeps us razor sharp. It’s me and the team against the clock!

That’s how I “rediscovered” one of my favorite tools the other day – DonorSearch.net.

Faster-Better-Cheaper with DonorSearch.net

At Aspire Research Group we’ve taken on a few new clients that, in addition to standard profile research, needed some “situational” research done. Things like prioritizing, quick checks to be sure assigning for a visit is appropriate, or key items researched to prepare the president. So I asked myself, “How could we manage our time researching, keep up the high quality of information, and make it the right price?”

In my quest, I took a fresh look at our tools and settled on DonorSearch to start our projects. Of course, being able to upload a small batch of names for a prospect screening is a time-saver, but even when we entered only one name into the Integrated Search, suddenly everything was at our fingertips. DonorSearch had made so many updates to their product – the combined result meant we could be very competitive.

For example:

  • Time Management: The big name family business was clearly the source of wealth, but why was the prospect not listed on the website? Open Corporates in the Integrated Search demonstrated a long list of companies where he was a director – many with the same word in the name. From there a quick Google search revealed his specialty in the family business. Faster.
  • High Quality: There was a large, outlier gift to an organization with a strange name. I didn’t want to put it in the list without checking, but didn’t want to have to do a distracting search. A click on the source link gave me a searchable PDF – and lo and behold – it was an organization with a mission similar to the client! Better.
  • The Right Price: By letting the tool do all of the upfront “grunt” work finding relevant information we spent less time gathering and more time thinking, and that meant we could charge the right price. Cheaper.

Ask the Librarian: Can’t you just Google that?

But if you really want your research to achieve the business mantra of better-faster-cheaper, you need more than a great tool like DonorSearch. You need to start with a really good understanding of the need and continue with really good communication throughout.

So why do researchers get asked to Google it in seconds flat? Let’s go ask the librarians! Librarians are trained to interview the customer. When you go to the reference desk, the librarian has to figure out what you are trying to accomplish and then help you navigate your way to success.

While we don’t view the reference librarian as an expert on the subject matter that brings us to the library, we do view the librarian as someone who has received training in library science and is an expert on helping us find information. The librarian is a professional.

The “just Google it” request suggests that any amateur without training can perform quality prospect research, which can be insulting … but it also happens to be a great opening for a really good conversation to clarify the  problem to be solved.

Professionals are Always in Demand

The more that software tools are able to do, the more important prospect research professionals become. Librarians don’t worry that books will put them out of business!

And on the flip side, the more that software tools are able to do, the more we must use our communication and problem-solving skills to provide flexible, custom solutions.

If you manage a prospect researcher, if you are a prospect researcher, or if you want to be a prospect researcher, you can arrive at better-faster-cheaper profile research if you recognize the importance of great training (including communication skills) and tools. It’s what qualifies us as prospect research professionals!

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Cure Analysis Paralysis with this Visual

In this wonderful era of exciting, off-the-shelf prospect research tools and one-click-away data analysis, how is it that we still struggle to prioritize our donors and prospects? But we do. The results come in, the scores are assigned and yet there are still way more highly-rated prospects than our staff could possibly contact. Which names do we call on first?

Human brains are not wired to interpret and act upon long lists of names with appended information, such as those found in our databases and Excel spreadsheets. And when you need 50 names, but there are 300 that all have the same top score, it can be paralyzing!

Whenever I hear about data visualizations I always see pictures of charts and graphs in my mind’s eye. But when I was grappling with how to deliver a prioritized prospect list to a client recently I decided against charts and graphs. I wanted something that would give them a colorful visual with graphics, but also actual donor prospect names with dollar signs.

The organization had decided to create a more formal corporate giving program. It had been happening accidentally and now they wanted to get serious. So she sent me a list of over a thousand of their best donors based on giving history. My job was to sort it out and send it back.

We decided to focus on two variables that we labeled engagement and gift potential. Engagement was based on RFM scoring, which stands for recency, frequency, and monetary and represents a giving history analysis. We also appended some estimated sales and other data to determine gift potential.

As you can see from the picture below, the key to the data visualization was limiting the presentation two only two, easily understood and highly relevant variables. (The information in the grid is fictional.)

Click to enlarge

Following is how you “read” the picture for this donor list:

  • Stars = high engagement, high gift potential
  • Loyal = high engagement, low gift potential
  • Opportunities = low engagement, high gift potential
  • Likes = low engagement, low gift potential

I knew that my client, a talented fundraising professional, really wanted to begin her efforts with a fighting chance of receiving major gifts in the first year. Who wouldn’t want that? It was up to me as a researcher to understand how to translate the organization’s fundraising program intentions into data points, create or get those data points, and then translate it back into fundraising actions.

My client didn’t need to understand exactly how I sorted and filtered to assign donor prospects into each of these categories. She needed to be able to recognize some names, be pleased and surprised to see some names she didn’t recognize, and be able to quickly make decisions about which ones she will call tomorrow.

No matter what kind of fundraising professional you are – front-line, prospect research, or something in between – you now have a simple way to visualize two variables that you can ask for or apply to the data yourself.

If you have a data visualization triumph I’d love to hear about it! Reply to this email or better yet, comment on the blog post.

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Fire your Prospect Researcher! Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived.

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For years now we’ve been told that Artificial Intelligence was going to take over prospect research tasks. Truth is, it has. Well, some of them anyway.

Consider wealth screenings. What used to take month after month of tedious, routine, baseline capacity rating work now takes less than an hour. Upload your file, it processes, and presto! You have gift capacity ratings on your prospects based on external wealth matches.

Or how about the user-friendly lookup tools, such as iWave’s PRO, that remove the first step of searching that prospect research professionals used to perform?

Does all of this mean prospect research is on the fast track for complete takeover by the machines? Should you fire your researcher? No way!

Artificial Intelligence has had a lot of hype over the years and very little real action – until now. A few events have led to some breakthroughs:

  • The internet has made vast amounts of data available, which can be used to train computers.
  • Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), the specialized chips used in PCs and video-game consoles to generate graphics, have been applied to the algorithms used in deep learning, a type of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Capacity to run GPUs can be rented from cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft, allowing start-ups to innovate.

Self-driving cars may still be on the horizon, but the bots are on the road already! They can schedule appointments on your calendar, draft replies to emails, and even read radiology imaging studies more accurately than a radiologist. The Economist describes the opportunity and threat quite succinctly as follows:

 “What determines vulnerability to automation is not so much whether the work concerned is manual or white-collar, but whether or not it is routine.” (6/25/2016)

 

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It’s easy to leap to the conclusion that prospect research professionals will lose their jobs to the machine – much of what we researchers do is routine – but that would be forgetting how machines have changed the world in the past.

Across the centuries, people have feared the march of the machines. In the late 1700’s to early 1800’s the Industrial Revolution rocked our world. As recently as the 1980’s, the rise of personal computers revolutionized the way we work. And with every introduction, much hand-wringing and predictions of unemployment were had.

How will prospect research professionals likely weather the advancing army of machine algorithms and programs?

Much the same as we adapted to wealth screenings and tools like iWave’s PRO. We learn new skills that wrap around the new technology. We leverage the new technology to work for us and for our fundraising team. We change the tasks we perform.

Prospect research professionals have a unique blend of skills. We can scan mountains of information and pull it together in a way that is meaningful for your specific need, whether that is creating a $5M gift strategy or a $5B campaign. We recognize the opportunities for our organizations in the data patterns the machine discovers.

If you want your organization to keep in step with the advances of machine learning, do NOT fire your researcher! Instead, reassure your prospect research professional of her value and insist that she take advantage of training that will give her the skills to use new technology. If you do this, she will be better able to guide you into new worlds, such as fundraising analytics … and beyond!

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The Devil’s in the Data! When should you get an audit?

binary-503598_1280Guest post by Darrel Spacone

Stop and think about the health of the data in your donor database.  When was the last time any cleaning or maintenance was done? Is it part of a normal routine?

We all run into situations on an almost daily basis that scream “Dirty Data”, “Duplicate Data”, “Useless Data”, etc.  But what are you doing about it? Do you know what to do or how to do it?  There are always issues with data that will creep up over and over again until they are addressed.

Your donor database is highly complicated and detailed. Over the course of time, how many staff and volunteers, with different skill sets, have been allowed to edit your data in some way and contribute to the less than stellar shape that it is in?

Most organizations face the same issues, but how they deal with or ignore them separates them. An audit is the starting point to finding out exactly what and how much is amiss, addressing it, and then making maintenance and cleaning part of your normal routine.

In my career I have had direct experience with wearing many hats and having heavy workloads thrust upon me as a nonprofit employee. Sometimes there is little or no time to navigate the data trail, finding and fixing common, glaring issues.

You know or suspect you have problems, but how and when can you tackle it?

If you don’t have someone on staff with the expertise to clean up your donor database, consider hiring a consultant to provide you with an audit. An audit will identify what you are doing right, what is going wrong, and what steps you need to take to get back on track.

So, when should you get an audit?  NOW of course!

Following are some of the benefits of an audit:

  • Mailings: An audit will expose missing titles, names, addresses, addressees, salutations.  Are you mailing to or soliciting minors? What about your service area or state? Do you target solicitations to certain counties? Is the county field populated?
  • Duplicate records: Do you have the same person with multiple records?  Are they necessary?  Are you mailing to spouses or other household members separately? Should you?
  • Duplicate addresses: Every time you add a new, preferred address, are you checking the address tab?
  • Merged records: Duplicate information can be copied over during this process.
  • Security: Are you lazy when it comes to security?  Does everyone have the same access regardless of their job function and capabilities?  Often this is the single largest problem and causes the most damage.
  • Deceased constituents: Are you mailing to or soliciting dead people? Have you overlooked the surviving spouse?
  • Record archiving: How long do you solicit a prospect? How long has the record been in the system without any activity?  Do you know how to keep your history, but remove from your mailings?

Data underpins all of your development efforts from gift acknowledgement, invitations, prospect identification, stewardship and beyond. When your data becomes a tangled web, your ability to fundraise suffers. Donors are not thanked and renewed. Major gift opportunities are lost forever. When you add up the losses incurred from bad data, the return on investment in your data skyrockets.

The Devil’s in the data! Make it Good.

darrel.spaconeAbout Darrel Spacone, bCRE
Darrel Spacone is the Chief Information Officer at Donor-Data-Done, LLC, a Blackbaud Certified Raiser’s Edge Consulting firm. With thirteen years of experience with Raiser’s Edge, he has helped healthcare, arts, child welfare and social services organizations identify problems and fix their donor databases. He provides audits and solutions, so that you can focus on your day-to-day tasks without missing a beat, saving you time and money while you are raising money.
Connect with Darrel:

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5 Tips to Make Your CRM Successful at Change

ColorArrowsI dare you to try this search! Go to the search engine of your choice and type in…

CRM “change agent”

Are you surprised how many relevant results you get? There are many similar if not the same names for the process of putting the customer, or in our case the donor, first. Here’s a few:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Donor Relationship Management
  • Relationship Management System
  • Moves Management System
  • Prospect Management System

So what’s this about being a change agent? How could anyone reasonably expect CRM software to be a change agent?!

Obviously CRM software is not a magic wand capable of implementing change. But creating or changing your relationship management system is a powerful opportunity to raise the bar in your fundraising efforts. Unfortunately, all too often this opportunity is missed because its role as a change agent is not recognized.

No matter what size your organization and no matter how many people in your fundraising office, any change to your relationship management system is going to affect a number of different players on your team – most potently when it changes performance assessments and incentives.

Following are five tips to help make your relationship management system a successful change agent:

1 – Listen to the key players first.

You are listening for a few critical items: (a) Are you using the same language as the key players? (b) Do your proposed changes match their values? (c) Might any of the proposed changes create undesired consequences? This is Internal Relationship Building 101. Yes, we must do it internally, not just externally with our donors.

2 – Create an internal campaign to sell the changes.

Have fun with this. Go all out. Create simple explanations you can recite in your sleep. Give it a brand and tagline. Use color. No person’s role is too small not to be an advocate of your change. If staff don’t want it or even know what it is, how successful do you think you’ll be?

3- Research suggested performance measures.

Whether you network with your colleagues, read vendor and association research studies, scan for blogs and articles online, or all of the above, do your homework so you can make as few mistakes as possible. Don’t get stuck on research, but don’t be skimpy. If you are recommending a smaller portfolio size, you’d better know the philosophy behind that approach or you may risk raising fewer dollars while you figure it out.

4 – Make sure you have a thoughtful implementation plan.

Why not find a way to test-run some or all of your changes before a full rollout? I’m not talking just the technology – a person should walk through the whole process too. Consider all the phases of your rollout and don’t forget to include training and re-training.

5 – Evaluation means it’s never over.

Your relationship management system will always face two persistent threats: (1) Change in the external fundraising environment such as donor behavior and the economy, and (2) Change in the internal organizational environment, such as changes in leadership and finances. Hopefully you won’t need to make big changes frequently, but if you regularly audit the performance of the system you will be better placed to react.

No matter how big or how small your fundraising office is, your relationship management system is a tool to help you get focused on your donors and prospects. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving success with any technology or system is getting everyone trained and willing to use it.

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Mastering Moves Management: 3 Key Pieces

Moves management is the process of moving a donor prospect from identification to major gift. Also known as prospect management, when you throw those terms into a search engine most of the results are for software companies, especially donor database companies. But I argue that moves management is not primarily a software solution but sincerely a *people* solution!

A database is a tool. Its importance increases as the number of an organization’s donors and friends increases. We need our donor database to keep track of gifts and all of the other information and tasks surrounding our donors and friends.

The more gift officers and the more major gift prospects you have, the more important it is to use your database in your moves management system. But beware! Anytime you spend more time typing into your database than you do talking with your prospects, you will struggle to raise enough money.

Moving a prospect usually requires a pretty intense relationship over a year or two. You need to discover her interests and motivations for giving and connect her in a very personal way to your organization. What if you have 100 prospects being moved? How about 300? And what if you have 3 gift officers moving prospects? Or 5, or 10, or more?

Now you seriously need a system!

Pretend you are an astronaut looking down on earth. Now pretend you are consultant looking at an organization from a distance. This organization has a moves management system humming along. You notice there are three gears in motion producing consistent relationships with prospects capable of making a major gift. These gears are:

Ratings – Each prospect is rated so you can stay focused on those who can help you reach your dollar goal.

Moves – Actions with prospects are deliberate and planned (and tracked in the database).

Reports – Regular printed reports are reviewed and regular meetings are held to build internal skills and keep all the moving parts in balance

Can you do moves management without a database? Of course you can! You could keep track of your gifts in Excel too, but it is rarely the best solution.

Mastering moves management requires learning the balance for your organization between the three moving gears:

  • How many ratings do you need to stay on path with the most capable prospects?
  • How will you plan for moves, make your moves, and record your moves?
  • What measurements should you report on to keep you accountable?
  • How often should you meet and who should meet to keep your major gifts program growing?

Everything in our world is in constant flux. Moves management requires re-balancing as your major gifts program grows and changes. If you keep the emphasis on the moves – on the in-person interactions with your donor prospects – everything else will find its place.

Have you mastered your moves?

Other Related Articles and Blog Posts:

Prospect Management Fundamentals (pdf)

How to Take Charge of Your Moves Management System (blog)

Moves Management = Money (blog)

3 Consultant Relationship Types that Succeed: Which one for you?

If you know what type of consultant relationship you want before you hire, you will be better able to evaluate the skills, approach, and personality of the consultant. Better evaluation means you will be much more likely to achieve your desired outcomes. Never underestimate the human element! Here are three fundamental relationship types to consider:

#1 – Restaurant Menu: Just Do It For Me!
Imagine it is a Friday night. You are tired after a long work-week and decide to take the family out to dinner at a local restaurant. You order pecan-crusted grouper on a bed of spinach and just as you are about to sip your glass of wine the chef appears at your side. He asks you, “Do you know how to get the pecans to stay encrusted? No? Do not worry! Come back to the kitchen in five minutes and I will show you.” Ummm. Not exactly what you had in mind. In fact, it would be irritating and awkward.

If you need a problem solved and you do not have the staff or resources to tackle it, you want a consultant to come in and do it for you. This consulting relationship is not unreasonable and can be a great way to get your organization moving forward.

As an example, you may need your donor database analyzed to determine best prospects for major gift and/or annual appeals. You know that there are consultants who can examine your database and make effective recommendations. You receive the ratings imported into your database and review the suggested prospect segments or groupings with the consultant. Then it is up to you to “eat” your “meal” – you need to engage and ask your donor prospects for gifts.

#2 – Cooking Class: Teach Me How To Do It Myself!
Now let’s imagine it is a Saturday morning and you arrive with your coffee in hand, ready for your cooking class. As you enter the classroom you discover the morning meal completely prepped and ready to go into the oven. You wonder, “How am I going to get my egg mixture fluffy like that next week when my in-laws are visiting?” And then, “Why did I pay for this class if I don’t learn how to make the dishes on my own?”

If you need to solve a problem that requires you to implement the solution on a regular basis, you want a consultant to walk you through how it works, using her expertise to shorten the time between learning and using your new skills. This kind of consulting builds your organization’s internal capacity by teaching staff valuable new skills.

As an example, you may be preparing for a campaign and want to be able to qualify major gift prospects as needed. The consultant trains your staff member how to do the research herself and creates a worksheet so that she can methodically establish a capacity rating and inclination rating to be entered in the donor database. Now the staff member can “cook” the “meal” with the same great results every time – she can prioritize new prospects quickly and effectively.

#3- Catering Instruction: Do It For Me and…Coach Me on Implementing!
Continuing with our food analogy, imagine you are hosting a big dinner party – your first ever! You hire a catering company. They arrive with all of the different courses cooked and ready. You and your spouse are given a list of all the foods and when they need to be served. But the best part is that they dress all the tables with linens and leave you with a server. She makes sure everything happens on time, prompting and reminding you along the way. Her expertise ensures all goes smoothly. Your party is a smashing hit!

Experienced fundraisers and managers know that having a consultant who can deliver a finished package and continue to coach on effective implementation can be the perfect solution. This kind of consulting gets the initiative up and running quickly, building the skills of the entire team along the way.

As an example, you need to transition from haphazardly securing major gifts to a major gifts program. The consultant analyzes your donor database, imports the ratings and works with you to develop a complete moves management system – rating, moves and reporting. Then she coaches you through the first year, tweaking the system and making suggestions to keep you on track. Your team has the “food cooked” and can efficiently “serve” it – your team has prospect management tools and they are methodically moving major gift prospects toward gifts.

Be aware of the kind of relationship you need and want to reach your goals. Then communicate that clearly as you interview a prospective consultant. It is the first step toward hiring the right person for you and your organization – someone you like and trust with the skills to get you to your destination.

Aspire Research Group has worked in all three types of relationships with clients, depending upon the problem to be solved. Do you have a prospect research problem and aren’t sure how to solve it? We would be happy to discuss it with you. Call 727 231 0516 or email jen at AspireResearchGroup.com.

Other blog posts that might interest you:

5 Ways You Know You Need A Research Consultant

The Shocking Truth About Prospect Research Consultants!

How to Take Charge of Your Moves Management System

Managing Moves is a Workout!

So you want to implement a moves management system to ensure you are focusing on your best major gift prospects. Or you have a system, but you want to make it better. Good for you!

Moves Management is a Workout!
First, recognize that a moves management system is not a magical system where elves enter all your data and print reports whilst you sleep. Using a moves management system to track donor prospects is like getting physically fit – you have to workout! It requires you to:

  1. Enter information on each donor prospect record – at least:
    • Capacity rating, target ask, prospect stage, affinity/propensity
  2. Record your visits – you want to be sure:
    • Outcomes met the purpose
    • Advanced the prospect relationship
    • Something new was learned or
    • Contact resulted in a next step
  3. Periodically review your progress and start over at #1
    • Regular, internal prospect review meetings (at least monthly)

Assess Your Needs and Resources
Sometimes when you first start exercising, you find that you are so, so tired and wonder if getting fit will ever give you more energy and finely-toned muscles. It will! But you have to slog through the first bit of work. That said, you can’t swim across the English Channel tomorrow if today you are struggling to swim across the pool. Assess your needs and resources:

  • Are you starting from scratch or have you already been tracking prospects somewhere?
    • Tweaking a system is often easier than starting new
  • Will gift officers be tasked with entering tracking info plus their prospect actions, or is there another staff member available?
    • Assigning some data entry to other staff, especially on newly identified prospects, keeps down the grumbling and frees up your gift officers to go and get those major gifts – no excuses!
  • Do you have many solicitors, or just a few?
    • When the office is small, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible
  • Is this for ongoing major gifts or a campaign?
    • While similar, a campaign may warrant a higher degree of tracking

You Will be Tweaking
As you choose a combination of database fields and database reports (or maybe Excel lists and calendars if you are very small) together with your regular prospect reviews, you *should* find yourself tweaking the moves management system. For example, you might realize you are re-visiting disqualified prospects and decide to change your prospect stage like this:

First Method Second Method
Identified

Cultivation

Solicitation

Stewardship

Identified

Qualified

Cultivation

Solicitation

Stewardship

Disqualified

This is a natural progression in your use of your system. Or maybe you find that it takes forever to enter the information in various fields around your donor database record and decide to limit your tracking to a few key pieces all in one easy-to-enter place in the database. Or maybe you find that monthly meetings are not enough and weekly meetings would keep everyone where they need to be with their prospect list.

Ask any fitness freak – taking the time to understand the best times and types of exercise for yourself makes all the difference in achieving your goals. Taking the time to get your system customized to your fundraising culture and constituents will make all the difference in whether you achieve your major gift goals. Not everyone has washboard abs and not every nonprofit has an efficient, high-performing major gifts program!

Give Yourself a Generous Year
Give yourself at least a year from your first effort to get the system really working smoothly. If it’s not working after a year, take a hard look at whether you (a) really need a system or (2) have put the right kind of effort into it. If you are a one-person shop cultivating ten people across the year, you can keep a lot of that in your head and your calendar. If you have multiple solicitors and/or need to boost your total prospect numbers (those under identification, cultivation and stewardship), you won’t be effective without a system.

Consider Getting a Coach
Olympic athletes wouldn’t dream of training and competing without a coach. Even the most dedicated athletes find themselves tired and frustrated, unable to “see” what is holding them back. A coach can keep your spirits up, redirect your efforts to keep you performing, and, step-by-step, help you reach ever higher goals.

If you are determined to reach your major gift goals, but find yourself unable to wrap your hands around moves management or even identifying good prospects to track, contact Aspire Research Group. We specializing in helping fundraisers reach their goals, guiding you comfortably every step of the way. Call (727) 231-0516 or email jen at aspireresearchgroup.com.

For more blog posts on moves management, click here: Moves Management

3 Shortcuts for Leveraging Prospect Research in Record Time!

The majority of nonprofit organizations in the country do not have dedicated prospect research staff. So how can you still leverage prospect research to raise more money?

The biggest hurdle is recognizing that prospect research can be accomplished by everyone in your organization. Here are three shortcuts any fundraiser can implement to begin using prospect research techniques to boost giving:

(1)    Identify people with linkage, ability and inclination

Everyone in your organization can identify people who are connected in some way to you, appear to have some money to give away and, if not outright passionate about your mission, are likely to be philanthropic. Have a team meeting and educate everyone in your organization about what a good prospect looks and sounds like. Arm them with the kinds of easy conversational questions that will help qualify a good donor prospect. Then listen when they tell you about people and share the outcome with them.

(2)    Get to know the people closest to your organization

From the gift entry clerk who starts her call to a donor with “thank you” before asking her question, to the janitor who gives people directions on the campus, to the president who meets with local companies – everyone in your organization has a chance to treat your constituents as the friends and family they are. As the fundraiser, you need to ask staff about people frequently and listen and record what they say.

(3)    Decide on a tracking system and stick to it!

Working with the people in your office who understand your database best (which could also be the vendor), decide what you want to keep track of and the best way to do it. Then make sure everyone entering data does it the same way so you can pull accurate reports. For more ideas, read Three Simple Steps to a Prospect Management System.

At first it may seem like a lot of work to involve other staff members in identifying and cultivating your constituents, but once you learn to balance all of the chance meetings you have with staff with a few added formal encounters, you might find that you will gather more face-to-face intelligence with donor prospects than you ever could have accomplished on your own.

It takes time to implement anything new, but with all this information being gathered you will soon be in the enviable position of prioritizing well-informed prospect lists!

Still need help identifying prospects? Are you lost in your database full of donor records? Need deep research before a solicitation? Call Aspire Research Group at (727) 231-0516. We can help.

Defining an ACTION in Moves Management

I have been gathering and synthesizing all the materials and resources I have collected on moves management as part of my work creating a “simple” moves management process for a client. (Somehow “simple” always means so much more effort!)

Today I dug out some handwritten notes I took during Lisa Howley’s presentation at the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in Baltimore this year.

Here is the definition of an action that she gave:

  • Outcomes met the purpose
  • Advanced the prospect relationship
  • Something new was learned
  • Contact resulted in a next step

Because gift officers’ performance is frequently judged at least partly by the number of actions they have with their prospects, defining an action is tricky business. The subject comes up on PRSPCT-L, the prospect research list-serv hosted by APRA because prospect researchers often oversee moves management.

Does your definition of an action differ from what is listed above? Am I missing something? I’d love to hear what you have to say!