About Prospect Research
Prospect research is a highly targeted form of market research in which you are seeking a good match for engagement between potential donors and a charitable organization. Donors may be individuals, foundations or corporations. Prospect researchers follow a code of ethics and utilize information that is available to the public. Research may be broadly segmented into reactive research, in which you respond to the research requests from frontline fundraisers, or proactive research, in which you may utilize a broad range of tactics in order to identify new prospects. This means constant media monitoring and being creative in your research strategies.
Getting Started in Prospect Research
- APRA Canada: An invaluable resource and a great professional community. As an APRA Canada member, you can join their excellent mentorship program and receive discounts on events. There are also many opportunities to take a leadership role with APRA or to volunteer with the association.
- PRSPCT-L list: A lively discussion list where everyone is more than happy to help. The archives are a wealth of information.
- The Scoop: APRA Canada's quarterly publication.
- iSchool Institute: Jennifer Zhang's Introduction to Prospect Research course is a concentrated, one day, hands on introduction to prospect research. Highly recommended for those interested in starting in the field. N.B. iSchool students receive a significant discount.
If you love learning about international research, please take a look at the resources I've authored on the topic:
- Webinar: Donors without Limits: Finding information on prospects beyond your borders is available for purchase from Connie Hubb's website. Instead of providing you a list of static resources, Sabine Schuller and I will walk you through how we approach researching a new country. You will learn how to develop research strategies in an unfamiliar landscape, what critical factors to consider when evaluating international resources and what common pitfalls to avoid.
- Article: Research in Chinese without reading Chinese is a how-to article about researching Chinese language resources with a little help from Google Translate. Originally published in APRA Canada's The Scoop. Please feel free to download the pdf.