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There are four stages of the donor cycle: Identification, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship.

During the month of February my weekly zoom webinar, About Fundraising, will look at the task of Identification from various points of view.

  • Research Basics
  • Building a Prospect Donor Profile
  • Best Practices, Next Steps

Earlier this month we learned about research basics from Katey Flores. There is a lot of free, public information available on the internet about prospective donors. LinkedIn, Facebook and Google are quite useful. You can also use your county’s tax appraisal district website to find the taxable market value of a residence, which is a wealth indicator.

Donor Profiles

Your CRM is the best place to build and save your donor profile, but I’m sure some of you are like me, and still prefer paper and pen. Whatever method you use, be consistent with the information you gather on your prospective and current donors. Nicknames, employment, alma mater, and political donations are just a few of the data points to include in your profile.

It’s easy to overlook current donors as prospects. A donor who gives monthly or consistently over several years is someone to look at more closely. They’ve demonstrated their interest in your organization and their loyalty by their giving. Deeper research may discover increased potential.


Who are your most likely prospects? LYBNTS and SYBNTS. Why? Because they have given before! These two groups of past donors are often overlooked as prospects, but it’s worth it to spend time refreshing your information and reaching out to them.

Best Practices

The last week of February we will look at prospect research best practices, including the following points:

  • Clean your donor database
  • Look to your annual fund
  • Focus on major gift donors
  • Prioritize Philanthropy
  • Think about big picture implications

Join me every Thursday at noon, CST, for About Fundraising and learn more about Identification during the month of February.

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