Small organizations sometimes need to think big when it comes to a specific project, in the long or short term. This might mean bringing in outside help, and that means doing the homework.
At the Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference at National Harbor, Md., Nadine Gabai-Botero of Focus Fundraising LLC, Joan Geiger Wood of Joan Wood & Company LLC and Isabelle Blanco of the Foundation Center said that leaders at smaller nonprofits often think they lack the resources to use outside help when conducting prospect research. They cautioned against this kind of thinking.
They said prospect research is not just for the big guys, it’s not magic and even with a few resources it can produce results. It requires focus, discipline and hard work. Their advice is to have a plan, be well prepared and have reasonable expectations.
They also suggested the following considerations when enlisting outside sources:
- Make sure they have a solid understanding of the organization’s goals, core services and target market.
- They must be able to passionately advocate for the organization, just as staff would.
- They need to understand the organization’s mission, brand and “voice.”
- Remember that experience can connect the dots.
- There are document formats available for initiatives such as prospect research, for example, Excel or the Foundation Center prospecting worksheets or another document already in use.