Finding a Few Good Prospects

“Where do we find prospects?” is a question I often get asked.

As is often the case with good questions, I have to respond with another question: What if, in five years, your organization was fully funded? What would your organization look like?

More importantly, what would your community look like? Would there be no hungry children in your community? Would every person have access to high quality healthcare? Would your community be continuously finding new and creative ways to integrate new people in to the fabric of the community? Would violence in schools be just a story about something that happened in the past?

Stop focusing on your organization and start focusing on that impact. And then start finding people who want to partner with you to help make that a reality. The level of people’s participating will vary, but whether they volunteer, donate money or help raise awareness about your organization, they are really partnering with you to accomplish that goal.

So back to the question, where do you find those people?

You’re probably already running into them. And once you change how you talk about your organization, ahem, your mission, people who are interested will begin to show up. Chances are, they’re already showing up and you’re not capturing their contact information to follow-up with them.

Over the last week, I’ve spoken with three different organizations who are regularly speaking about what they do out in the community. None of them have been providing an easy way for people to sign up to get information on an ongoing basis. So one simple tip that will help you to identify future donors is to have either a sign-up sheet that you pass around the room or response cards that you ask people to fill out on the spot. That way you can add them to your email list (you do have a regular email communication that you send out – don’t you?).

Not sure what to include in that email communication? Or are you feeling like it would be too much work? It doesn’t need to be. A simple 2-4 paragraph communication – with information that the reader would find interesting / helpful is all that is needed. And there are several email companies like MailChimp and ConstantContact that make it really easy to create the communications and manage your email lists.

Not sure how this increases donations? Here’s the background theory – getting permission to contact people is the first step to getting a gift. Will it happen overnight? No. Will it take an investment of time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Think about it. Would you rather have a one-time donor or someone who is really interested in and passionate about your organization?

I’d love to talk with you more about your challenges and opportunities. Please send me an email at so that we can schedule a time to visit by phone.


Finding a Few Good Prospects — 4 Comments

  1. You said my favorite words – fully funded!

    I think you’re right – if a nonprofit’s leaders could focus out a little bit and think about those people who are most likely to support the work, it makes it easier to find them now.

    Sandy Rees

  2. Kirsten, you are highlighting something so important. Capturing the contact information of the people who have a passion for the organization and its mission. I am often surprised that organizations feel they need to LOOK for more prospects when their board and staff likely talks to hundreds of people a month if not a week.

    My motto when coaching a group: Most groups don’t need more donors, they need to know the ones they have MUCH better and that includes staying in touch with them about the impact and what the organization can do more of with more resources.

  3. Pingback: Kirsten’s Fundraising Headlines – September 6, 2011 | Growing Your Donors