My 40 Perspectives on Prospect Research

by Rhode Warrior, Mark Noll

  1. Expand your scope of education and skills. Stagnation will make you obsolete.
  2. Know when the time involved for that last piece of information is not worth the investment.
  3. What’s your value? We’re in a dollar value business. Those who don’t bring in the money are first to go during hard times.
  4. Information is power and some development officers are trying to become marvel comic heroes.
  5. If you think you’ve figured out a successful entrepreneur’s capacity, you need to re-educate yourself.
  6. If your data sucks, then so do your analytics.
  7. Car sales correlation #1: More salespeople on the lot does not always translate into more car sales. Same goes for fundraising.
  8. If you do not have big projects to fund, do not expect big gifts.
  9. Sometimes screening prospects is like panning for gold in the desert.
  10. Just because someone has the capacity to give doesn’t mean they have the willingness to give.
  11. Whatever you are doing to compensate for lost phonation revenues, it more than likely will not surpass the former.
  12. Never assume.
  13. Researchers have a better chance of being photographed with zombies than they do with the million dollar check presentation.
  14. Your new prospect is somebody else’s former donor.
  15. If the prospect doesn’t choke on your ask amount, you lowballed the ask amount.
  16. If the prospect immediately answers “yes” to the ask amount, again, you lowballed the ask amount.
  17. Updating donor profiles on a regular basis is comparable to watching the grass grow between mowing.
  18. Determining a private company’s worth by comparing it o a public company is like comparing the color yellow to a lemon. They have common element but are completely different.
  19. Researchers enjoy meetings as much airline pilots like hearing funny noises.
  20. Gift officers who understand and appreciate the work of Prospect Research likely are former Prospect Researchers.
  21. Researchers are generous. We raise millions of dollars every year and allow the development officers to receive the accolades.
  22. If I knew how that stock would be performing in six months I wouldn’t be working for a non-profit, so please don’t ask such a question.
  23. If you’re looking for the Prospect Researcher at the party, focus on the person sitting alone in the corner.
  24. I’ve extended my career by investing heavily in Red Bull.
  25. If you can Google it, it ain’t research.
  26. Donor fatigue is just another name for prospect stagnation.
  27. Most prospects on a gift officer’s portfolio for more than two years are usually great golf partners.
  28. To not include one’s spouse in a solicitation is to create a greater than 50/50 chance that you will never receive an end of life gift.
  29. Respect Development Officers. Remember that Prospect Research is comparable to being a boxing trainer. We set the course and direction but it’s the other guy taking the beating.
  30. How many Prospect Researchers does it take to screw in a light bulb? We’ll get back to you in 3-5 days.
  31. If you know the terms Dialog, Northern Light, Netscape and Alta Vista, you’ve been doing research way too long.
  32. I can’t prove it, but I know there has to be correlation between a gift officer doing call reports and a 4-year-old liking broccoli.
  33. Fundraising in its simplest terms is sales without a product?
  34. If you create a development officer’s bonus plan without an incentive to raise beyond their goal, they will likely raise exactly at their goal.
  35. It’s not about capacity, it’s about liquidity.
  36. Nobody has ever gifted an institution to fund a parkade.
  37. Careful about how you name buildings. The Harvey Weinstein School of Dramatic Arts may have been a good idea up until last year.
  38. When you hand a development officer a profile and they tell you that you forgot to add this or that, remind them the database was created for that very purpose.
  39. Most of us are introverts…the rest of us are just anti-social.
  40. There is a correlation to be made between those opposed to Prospect Research/Management and the advanced age of the person stating such.

1 thought on “My 40 Perspectives on Prospect Research

  1. Thanks for the list. Made me laugh – Dialog (last time I used it I somehow ran up a $400+ charge!!).

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