Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ideas that work

idea icon Prospecting for Gold

This posting I want to spend a little more time discussing the merits of donor prospecting and suggest some new-found advice about how to get started. On June 2 I introduced you to that concept of the prospect review matrix. Today I want to address the most burning question, "Who are my prospects?"

Of course, to reiterate, the best prospects are a combination of those with the greatest financial capacity to assist the Learning Center program as well as those who are most apt to financially support it. These two groups are not one and the same, although some names should be on both lists. As you consider what to do first, you should spend your attention on those who are on both lists first, then approach those closest to you, followed by those without strong connection, but financial capacity.

The process of review can either be conducted as a subcommittee or a group, but first, you have to prime the pump with names. How do you brainstorm those?

Recent psychology research provides helpful advice. While we often think the best suggestions come from group brainstorming, Adrian Furnham reports in "The Brainstorming Myth" in Business Strategy Review that you can get more and better suggestions by assigning your entire board to develop a list of 30 prospects each and then coming together to review the names.

Brainstorming is valuable, but a group process that begins at square one will allow for group "loafers" or people inhibited by the group. This process offers each member of your team their best opportunity to contribute, resulting in a more comprehensive list of prospects for your group to review.

I've posted a form for your use here.

Prospect review is a great tool for focusing the board on the actions that matter most.


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