So what is that information you need to know? First, where do your prospects live? Do they own property? Where do your prospects work? How does their employment contribute to their ability to give? Do your prospects make gifts? If so, how big? And how and where are your prospects connected in the community? Prospect research can return large amounts of information, and you may not have time or the inclination to decipher it all, so you will want to focus your attention on those items that provide the greatest indication for predicting charitable giving. They are previous donations to your nonprofit, donors who consistently give our prospects to give future major gifts. Pay attention to your loyal donors and give them the necessary attention. Donations to other non-profits, if a prospect gives to similar non-profits then they're a good candidate to give to you. When a history of charitable giving is present, you can focus your job on convincing the prospect that your cause is worth the significant donation. Philanthropic giving to other nonprofit organizations is the second most predictive sign of future giving. It makes sense intuitively, people who are already philanthropic are more likely than the average person to give charitably. What's particularly interesting is how powerful a predictor this is. Individuals who have made a gift of over $100,000 to a non-profit are 32 times more likely to make a charitable donation elsewhere. Individuals who have made a gift of $50 - $100,000 to a non-profit are 25 times more likely to make a charitable donation elsewhere. Individuals who made a gift of $10 - $25,000 to a non-profit are 10 times more likely to make a charitable donation elsewhere. And individuals who have made a gift of $5 - $10,000 to a non-profit are five times more likely to make charitable donations elsewhere. A positive correlation exists between political donations and charitable giving. If a prospect gives generously to campaigns and has the capacity to give more, then your non-profit may be the destination for those additional funds. Political giving is another excellent predictor of future giving. A single lifetime gift of $250 puts your constituent into the top six percent of the US population in terms of political contributions. What's more, a single lifetime gift of $1000 puts your constituent into the top one-tenth of one percent. The predictive power of political giving is huge. An individual who has given at least $2500 in their lifetime to federal political campaigns is 14 times more likely to give a philanthropic donation than someone who is not. An individual who has given at least $500 in their lifetime to federal political campaigns is five times more likely to give a philanthropic donation than someone who has not. Why is political giving so predicatively powerful? The answer is twofold. First, the size of our prospect's past political gifts can clue you into the giving capacity of a particular candidate. And, secondly, anyone who gives a political donation is clearly open to making a donation to a cause that they feel passionate about. If you can strike a similar chord in your communications with those prospects, you'll have a greater chance of securing a gift. Non-profit involvement, employees of non-profits, volunteers, and non-profit board members understand the importance of charitable giving and tend to be receptive to donation asks. Real estate ownership is a wealth marker you can't afford to look past. Number five would be real estate ownership. Not only does property ownership and the value of that property indicate wealth, but donations can come in forms other than money, such as in real estate. Some prospects don't have money to give, but they do have significant real estate. Prospect research lets you know what type of gift to request. The last factor we will focus on is real estate ownership as a propensity marker in addition to a wealth indicator. Research based upon an analysis of $5 billion and giving to 400 non-profit organizations conducted by donor search, a national prospect research firm found that an individual that owns $2 million or more worth of real estate is 17 times more likely to give philanthropically than the average person. An individual that owns a $1 - $2 million worth of real estate is four times more likely to give philanthropically. And an individual that owns between $750,000 and $1 million worth of real estate is two times more likely to give philanthropically than the average person. Well, what does that tell us? This correlation between giving likelihood and property worth demonstrates one important fact: real estate ownership is more than just a wealth marker. It's a philanthropic indicator as well. Just like political giving, its predictive powers are twofold. Plus real estate ownership can be plugged into a larger formula that assists in calculating a donor's total wealth, which, in terms, helps assess giving capacity scores. In short, real estate ownership is a wealth marker you can't afford to look past. Business affiliations, you can find more donors by identifying where your prospect works and who they work with. Also, it's smart to figure out if the prospect works for a company that offers matching gift grants, which allows donations to be doubled at no additional cost to the donor. The contact information and marital status. Securities and Exchange Commission insider stock transactions. Stock is another form of a charitable gift, as well as a wealth indicator. You can also learn what the prospect cares about from where they invest. Finally, personal information. You may never know all of your prospects' secrets, but you can gain insight into hobbies, as well as learn their basic contact information and marital status. Obviously, the list of what you need to know could go on and on, but it's easy and dangerous to get so wrapped up in your prospect research that you talked to fewer prospects. For major gift fundraisers, it is better to err on spending more time in the field and less time behind the desk. Still, there are some things you can discover with some basic resources that can help you prioritize your prospects and more effectively engage them. Don't expect to be able to discover someone's net worth or to be able to find the same amount of information on all of your prospects. However, what you can find may be able to help you focus your energies more strategically. Here are some resources that a fundraiser can consult when prioritizing a list of prospects. These tools are free or low-cost and involve a minimum amount of time and effort. You also need to understand that nothing comes without a price. Even if it doesn't cost you money, you will need to put in some time to make use of these tools, but for the right prospects, it will be time well spent. As we've discussed, real estate can be a useful gauge of our prospects overall wealth. The neighborhood where a family lives tends to reflect economic status. There are exceptions, of course, but as a broad economic indicator, real estate value is a good starting point. Fortunately, the value of virtually every property in the country is public information. You can often access this information through the website for the tax assessor of the county where the property is located. There are at least two things you should know about your prospects' home. What is its assessed or taxable value, and what is its market value? The county assessor website will provide the tax or assess the value of the property. It may also provide lots of additional helpful information that may include the market value, a history of sales, and a description of the property. Tax value and market value can be quite different. If the assessor doesn't provide a market value, you might be able to get an approximation of the market value at other sources we will review later in this module. Political donations made to candidates for national office or political action committees that support those candidates are reported by the Federal Election Commission. There are limits on the size of a donation that is allowed so these donations are not necessarily a good indication of a donor's capacity but nevertheless, it is possible for a political donor to give up to a $115,000 to a combination of candidates and party committees in a two-year campaign cycle. It is uncommon for someone to max out their donation capacity on political donations. A side benefit of finding political donations is that the document reporting the gift often includes the donor's home address, employer, and business title. As we've discussed, the only people who are required by law to disclose their stock holdings are public company insiders. These are directors, top officers and 10 percent shareholders of publicly traded companies. Insiders are very easy to research. There are several different websites you can search for insider data for free. J3 Information Services Group whose website is www.J3sg.com has an insider's report tool that is often a wonderful source for research teams. While many public company insiders are major gift prospects, most major gift prospects are not insiders. They are owners and leaders of businesses. They are professionals like doctors or lawyers. In many cases, these millionaires next door are very difficult to spot in your database or in the public information sources. If, however, you have a reason to believe that someone might be able to give more than they do now, here are some places to look for professional information. When researching lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell's website is an excellent resource. Information on doctors can be found at AMA DocFinder. ZoomInfo is a website that contains general professional information that is automatically compiled from various internet sources. Of course, LinkedIn is a great social networking site for professionals, and Hoover's is a business directory that is searchable by an executive's name. Keep in mind that sources like ZoomInfo and LinkedIn and even Hoover's, to some degree, are not verified by a disinterested third party. Usually, self-reported information is very accurate, but it is also possible for someone to misrepresent him or herself. Unless your prospect is an insider officer in a public company, you will almost certainly not find a definitive report of his or her salary. In some cases, however, it is possible to estimate constituent's income based on what else you know about them. Many different salary surveys can be easily accessed over the Internet. Two good ones are salary.com and jobs-salary.com.