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Find New Prospects in the Community

Prospect Visual Success Story: How I found new Prospects that turned into Trustees and Donors!

Hello! I’m Donna Peeples and currently I am the Director of Prospect Management and Development Research at City of Hope in California. This story happened before City of Hope, when I was working for an organization that had to reach out into the community to find its best major gift prospects. My fellow prospect researchers will understand what a time- consuming challenge this can be.

I’ve been in prospect research for more than ten years and was using all the tried and true techniques. I had Google alerts set up on keywords, I was scanning the news, and I was creating lists of everyone our trustees served on boards with - but we were still struggling. We weren’t finding enough of the kind of prospects who could serve on the board and give at the levels we needed.

How I Found Prospect Visual

I had been to an Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) conference and heard about relationship mapping and some of the new tools, so when our new Chief Development Officer came on board and mentioned relationship mapping I jumped at the chance to investigate more. That’s when I called Tatia at Prospect Visual. She explained how I could upload the people in our existing world, how Prospect Visual could add people from top companies and organizations in our geographic area, and how I could then look to see who was connected to whom.

My organization signed up and I sent her a file with our trustees, friends, top donors and prospects using criteria like giving and ratings from our wealth screening with DonorSearch, and I included some other lists, like the local tennis club where our president was a member, and event attendee lists. Prospect Visual added the directors and executives of the big companies in our metropolitan area.

How I Used Prospect Visual

Prospect Visual identified all of the names in their global database and put them into the My Contacts space. This way I could privately change, update and add records. I had access to written documentation, but my learning curve with Prospect Visual was softened by the live training provided by my representative, Tatia. I can’t tell you how many times I called her for training and help - she was great!

Once I got up to speed with Prospect Visual things began to come together. In the My Contacts space, every prospect record can have one or more tags. For example, a trustee can be tagged “trustee” as well as “XYZ Company”. Because of this I could ask Prospect Visual to show me connections between my trustees and a particular company. And I could filter for strong and deep connections.

Prospect Visual Yields Results!

This kind of mapping yielded some great results. For example, I would find a trustee connected to an executive in a company that we had never considered before. Once I verified the connection was indeed a good one, I researched a brief profile and delivered it to my Chief Development Officer. She was amazing and would take the information and get appointments.

But one time she told me what no researcher ever wants to hear. She said, “Donna, I know this woman and this information is wrong. She does not have those connections.” It felt like I had swallowed a brick! Wrong? How did I mess that up? Did I forget to check something? I agreed to check on it and went back to my desk.

So I checked on it ... and Prospect Visual was spot on! As I explained to my Chief Development Officer, the prospect had been involved with those companies and organizations before my Chief Development officer had personally interacted with her. “You are brilliant!” she told me. “I know,” I replied shamelessly.

Happily Ever After

I’m no longer with the organization, but the last I heard they were still using Prospect Visual to identify connections to prospects and were successfully finding board prospects and major gift prospects. In a short time, Prospect Visual gave my past organization qualified prospects they could reach and connect with. I know it works. That’s why I am engaging Tatia to help me present Prospect Visual to the leadership at my new organization. Stay tuned!

Prospect Visual Strategy Guide: Find New Prospects in the Community

Step 1: Make sure your original import is in order

You need to have your internal connectors already imported into Prospect Visual and properly tagged. When you send your file to Prospect Visual, include the names, employer name, and up to three additional affiliations of which you are aware. Consider importing people such as your executive staff, trustees, advisory board members, closest major gift donors, and anyone else who is willing to introduce you to others. You might also want to include top prospects, event attendees, and membership lists to clubs where executives or board members belong.

User Tip: If you need help with tags, don’t be shy about contacting your Prospect Visual representative. Tags are essential to using the product efficiently.

Step 2: Purchase additional contacts in key industries and organizations

Discuss your specific goals with Prospect Visual so they can help you identify the best companies and organizations to add to your contacts.

User Tip: Don’t be afraid to look in the wealthy town next door, just outside your usual geographical area or specific industries regardless of geography. Remember, you are trying for NEW prospects with a NEW technique.

Step 3: Add additional names one-at-a-time when identified

Sometimes there are key philanthropists or executives that you or your leadership may want to reach. You can always search for them in the global database and add them to your My Contacts with the appropriate tags.

User Tip: Especially if you have breaking news to share, you might try adding the person to your mailings even before you make contact. It worked for Donna Peeples! She added a high profile philanthropist to mailings on the pending merger of her organization. When her president sat down next to the philanthropist at a conference, guess who recognized the name tag and started the conversation? The philanthropist!

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