Prospecting 101: Donor Qualification
Coming out from Prospect Research or Database Screening, your team hopefully has a great many leads to explore for increased fundraising potential! However, not every prospect lead is a guaranteed major gift relationship. Even if the lead is an existing donor at a lower level, they may prefer not to have the targeted attention of a major gift relationship — or your mission may not be one of their top charitable causes. All of this is perfectly normal, and it is why nonprofits should apply a process of prospect qualification as the next step in their moves management.
Qualification is the initial personal contact made with a prospect, used to gauge their interest in continuing a conversation with you in a more targeted, one-to-one way. In other words, following identification, this is the next real-world step to verify your leads. Individuals who are seem interested in your mission should move into Prospect & Donor Cultivation as you develop the relationship further towards a gift.
At Faircom, we can provide you with tools and a roadmap for prospect qualification, as well as build our recommendations from an audit of your existing processes for qualification. If you haven’t previously laid out a structured approach, such an audit is likely not necessary — although in any kick-off, we would like to speak with you more about your experiences in prospect outreach to date.
Setting Up Tools and Resources for Prospect Qualification
To help qualify your prospects, Faircom can set your team up with the tools necessary to guide qualification, including:
- Building a prospect qualification calendar with detailed instructions for roll out.
- Drafting template outreach letters to secure initial discussions with prospects as part of calendar implementation. We can also provide guidance on how to effectively tailor letters by contact.
- Outlining a suggested agenda and exploratory questions to be used in initial prospect conversations.
Importantly, while of course the hope would be an immediate and enthusiastic response from your prospect to schedule a call, we know that the reality can be different. This is why all qualification plans are built with an understanding that you may require multiple follow ups and a series of diverse touchpoints at scheduled intervals to prompt response. We will work with you to define actions that can be easily integrated into your team, as well as provide guidance on the spacing of actions.
We will also include a defined end point — noting that, if you have been unsuccessful in reaching your prospect after a certain amount of time and effort, that in itself is a response.
As a standalone service, we typically combine the preparation of systems and tools for qualification with a similar setup for the next phase, Prospect & Donor Cultivation. We find that this is the best way to ensure you have a seamless moves management experience lined up for prospects and donors as you move through the development cycle.
Ongoing Strategy and Support for Prospect Qualification
Guiding your prospect qualification efforts can also fit within a monthly strategy retainer, typically as part of a larger scope of work that offers your team valuable behind-the-scenes support throughout the development cycle. Prospect qualification is typically a precursor to the more intensive Prospect & Donor Cultivation process, where more creativity, flexibility and management are at play in advancing relationships with donors.
Periodically, throughout the prospect qualification process you should ask:
- How many positive responses do you receive from prospects? How many negative responses?
- How many prospects are qualified or disqualified?
- How many touchpoints do you need on average to successfully reach and qualify a prospect?
- What touchpoints are most successful in securing a meeting with a prospect?
- How many prospects are disqualified because of non-response?
- How effective are different outreach materials that you use in qualification?
Taking these items together, your Faircom account team can work with you to modify the qualification process, including testing tools before rolling out new approaches across all prospects.
Learn more about nonprofit prospect research
Need help qualifying your donors?
At Faircom, we offer in-depth prospect profile development as a standalone service based on the number of profiles to be completed. We also work with organizations on an ongoing retainer basis to cover a range of strategy and support services, which can include preparation of in-depth profiles on an as-needed basis.