phone-call-business-man-donorMany Christian non-profits find it challenging to convert names in their database into major donors for their ministry. So, how do we find and cultivate larger donors from our existing donor database?

The answer is prospect research. Please understand that in order to meet the needs of the organization, research is the key.

Get to Know Your Donors

However, many ministries cannot afford a full time database researcher. They respond to this issue by ignoring database research completely. This is not the answer. There are things you can do in your current database to start the process today!

  1. Step 1: United Around a Vision
  2. Please do not start your major donor work without a vision!  Research proves that over 78% of people give to a compelling vision. Vision unites an organization. Once board and staff unite around a vision, you can begin researching those possible donor champions that can help you reach that vision for the future.

  3. Step 2: Collect Information
  4. Information about your donors plays a major role in success with your donor database. You must make it part of the expected climate in your office to collect information about the people that donate to your organization. Start with basic information and then add to the things you know about these people. Through conversations find out their hobbies, pets, children, or passions, and then record those things in your database. The new categories will be extremely useful as you develop a communications plan of action. Purposefully pursue donors as people you're interested to get to know and record what you learn. You'll find that knowing your donors will set you apart when they are considering where to invest in the coming years.

  5. Step 3: Connect with $1,000 and Up Donors
  6. Next, connect with any donor who has given a major gift of $1,000 or more to your ministry in the past three years. Building relationships with these donors will give you a good start in finding those that can support your ministry at a greater level.

  7. Step 4: Online Tools
  8. Sometimes we just don't have enough time to see every possible donor. We need a tool to prioritize our cultivation efforts. There are many resources out there, but if you don’t know where to start, I would recommend DonorCompassSM. (I may be a little biased, but I think it's the best on the market.) Here is just an idea of how this tool could help: Donor Compass scans 13 different databases, inspecting over 500 data points, and gives you a spreadsheet showing the Gift Capacity Rating for each name submitted with a corresponding dollar value--an estimate for a suitable gift. Just imagine how a tool like that could help you research your database and could become a catalyst for moving your major gift program forward.

    If you want to read more about why we think DonorCompassSM is a better tool than others on the market, check out this blog Paula Martin wrote >>

When a perfect case scenario isn't possible, like hiring a full time researcher, don’t give up! Start brainstorming solutions that will work. The fact that you need research is not going to change, but how you approach that research has endless possibilities. Remember, what you are doing matters greatly and you can keep moving forward!

Want to know more about DonorCompassSM? Download our free eBook: How to Discover Your Hidden Major Donors >>