The next tool is the list of prospects, which categorically ranks a list of 114 possible donors. From this list the fundraiser will identify who the top 10 prospects are based on their willingness to donate and the size of their donations. A fundraiser will also isolate the top 30 and top 100 prospects. These donors should be separated in the list with the best potential donors at the top.
SCORE 1,2,3, for HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW
3. The List of Prospects
How can the numbers 114 and 38 maximize the impact of a fundraising program for an organization? The same way they can help a fundraiser achieve success earlier with their fundraising campaign.
Both of these numbers are related directly to an organization’s fundraising success and the list of prospects. The list of prospects is a list generated of all the possible prospects who might contribute donations to an organization’s fundraising campaign.
Ideally a fundraiser should have 114 names on their list in order to get enough gifts to reach their goal. Of those 114 names, there needs to be a way of separating the best prospects from the medium prospects from the least beneficial prospects. This is done with a scoring system, which links the ability and interest to donate.
Using that scoring system the fundraiser should be able to rank the prospects from the highest score to the lowest score. The Top 10 names on this list should be the very first people the fundraiser needs to begin soliciting donations from. It’s important to work on these prospects first because they have been identified to be the most likely to donate the largest gifts with the least amount of effort. After being successful with the Top 10, the fundraiser can move into the Top 38 and work that way in a highest to lowest score. Eventually this will work you through to the entire list of 114 names.
If a fundraiser follows this process and they are successful in identifying their 114 best prospects, they will receive enough major gifts to achieve the fundraising goal that they’ve set out for themselves. Generally, they only need to be successful with one in three prospects, so of those 114, they’re hoping to successfully close 38 donations from 38 donors off that list. With their Top 10 being the largest of the gifts.
It’s important to focus on this as a tool, using it to help you focus energy on the highest potential areas, which is a particularly effective strategy if the fundraiser is not a full-time fundraiser. This maximizes the impact the fundraising program can have on their organization.
In the remaining articles in this series we’ll look at developing and using:
- Major Gift Tables
- Prospect Lists
- Volunteer Teams
- Case Statements
- Fundraising Budget