A funder research service is an important tool for professional fundraisers looking to secure more donations.
When you're looking at getting a service, it's important to evaluate the tools to find one that will be most effective for you.
But, these tools have lots of different features and approaches—how do you evaluate which one will work best for you?
Below, we outline some of they characteristics you should look for in a tool. These aren't necessarily obvious at first glance, but fundraisers find that these aspects make the biggest difference in the long term.
1. It Helps You Follow the Money
First, and most crucially: How effective is the tool in helping you find and connect with the prospects most likely to support your cause?
Many tools provide lots of general information along with large databases of donor organisations and individuals.
But if these don’t produce actionable leads for a fundraiser, the tool’s value is questionable.
The most useful tool will facilitate you in a “Follow the Money” approach -- that is, it will allow you to identify and prioritize funders who have donated to organisations just like yours.
Any tool that can't help you find funders based on who they fund (not what they say they fund), may be more of a burden than an asset.
2. It Provides Key Insights into Recipients as well as Funders
At a minimum, the ideal tool should provide the complete listing of all Canadian foundations, including the estimated 50 percent that do not maintain a public profile. Partial or curated lists won’t be as helpful as a complete listing of all potential funders that exist on record.
However, it’s just as important that a tool provide a complete listing of Canadian charities and the donations they’ve received, allowing the fundraiser to make connections to potential funders based on their donations to organisations similar to theirs.
Complete listings of donors and recipients will help ensure all ideal donors can be identified, but also enables you to more accurately and efficiently identify and prioritize the right matches for your organisation.
3. It Saves You Time
As a fundraiser, what type of work eats up most of your time?
Given the sheer number of potential funders out there, digging through funder lists and profiles can often take far more time than it’s worth.
Your prospect research tool should do some of that digging for you.
It should bring together all the relevant information, but also help you make sense of that information so you can more quickly focus on the right potential funders.
Once it’s helped you make important connections to both potential funders and charities similar to yours, your tool should also monitor any changes to your fundraising landscape and alert you to any important developments.
The right tool should mean less time researching and more time asking.
To sum up, a charity or nonprofit operating with limited funds and time should look for these characteristics when weighing possible funder research solutions:
A donation-oriented “Follow the Money” approach that prioritizes useful donation patterns.
Complete listings of all donors and recipients on public record in Canada.
Data-driven, time-saving features that allow you to spend less time being more effective.
Here at Ajah, we’ve carefully designed Fundtracker Pro and Benefactor, our primary funder research solutions, to satisfy these needs.
They put all the essential information on both donors and recipients at the fingertips of Canadian fundraisers.
For more information on FundTracker Pro, simply download our comprehensive Funder Research Guide (it’s completely free).
And as ever, happy fundraising!
Raena Marder - Customer Success Lead / Team Ajah