Much has been said about the proper maintenance of your donor database, especially during a data migration. A clean database can be used easily by everyone in the organization and is absolutely critical to accurate reporting.

One surprising result of proper data maintenance is its effect on dollars raised. The more focused you are on your data, the more likely you are to have greater fundraising success.

The “Ideal” Fundraising Prospect Profile

One of the truly great major gift fundraisers/fundraising consultants, Tom Suddes, recently wrote about the “ideal” fundraising prospect.

Here is a key excerpt:

The IDEAL PROFILE is one of the most powerful TOOLS that we use during our IDENTIFICATION PROCESS.

Don’t blow by this one. It has created many, many ‘MILLION DOLLAR’ prospects… and INVESTORS.

Here’s the concept: if you can actually come up with a PROFILE of your BEST PROSPECT/ INVESTOR (Customer/Client) … then you simply have to MATCH this IDEAL PROFILE with REAL PEOPLE!

In essence, this IDEAL PROFILE would be a simple ‘list’ of absolute best characteristics of your PERFECT (IDEAL) PROSPECT.

Data FacesIdeal Donor Prospect Profile = Database Pruning Criteria

Assuming you take Tom’s advice (which is never a bad idea) and you compile a list of the characteristics of the “ideal prospect,” that same list could double as the filters you use to prune your fundraising database!

For example, his ideal higher-ed profile might include:

  • A Very Wealthy Alum
  • Also, A Current Parent
  • Also, A Current Board Member
  • Also With A Significant Gift History!
  • (Trust me. If you’ve got somebody who fits this profile, and you’re a school… you need to go visit with them tomorrow!)

If the majority (or all) of your database properly aligned with those vital characteristics, you and your fundraising/executive team wouldn’t have to waste time on anyone far outside those margins

True, your database might be smaller. It would also be so tightly focused so that these ideal prospects receive all of the best tender, loving care you can give.

How many of you out there think any organization doing this would raise significantly more funds in the ensuing years?


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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.