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Around the World with Prospect Research. Carol McConaghy Thorp, CFRE Managing Director Professional Services Group Prospect Information Network 1.888.557.1326 Prospect Research Basics . What Is It? Understand its purpose & role

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around the world with prospect research

Around the World with Prospect Research

Carol McConaghy Thorp, CFRE

Managing Director

Professional Services Group

Prospect Information Network


prospect research basics
Prospect Research Basics
  • What Is It?
  • Understand its purpose & role
    • To collect and analyze prospect information necessary for relationship building/solicitation
    • Research generates leads (proactive) through prospecting activities and responds (reactive) to leads from field staff
    • Both activities are important to fundraising and equally challenging, especially with regard to international prospect research
prospect research basics3
Prospect Research Basics
  • First: Expectations: understand how much time it takes to conduct prospect research
  • Second: Determine how much time your researcher(s) has to devote to your program:
    • Domestic Individual Prospects (reactive and proactive)
    • Corporate & Foundation Research Support
    • Prospect Management & Tracking Responsibilities
    • Database Management
    • Staff/Departmental Management Responsibilities
    • Inter-departmental Meetings & Projects
    • Intra-departmental Committees & Obligations
prospect research basics4
Prospect Research Basics
  • Typical Assignment
    • Researcher handed a name (often misspelled) with little or no additional information from field staff; given tight deadline for research profile
    • Researcher given list of names (10-100+) on Monday to be completely researched by Friday…
    • Researcher asked to find “rich people” in a particular class, geographical area or some other broad designation
prospect research basics5
Prospect Research Basics
  • Good News
    • Researcher will be able to complete each request…but…
  • Bad News
    • Not in the timeline requested
prospect research basics6
Prospect Research Basics
  • The Answer?
    • A four letter word:
      • PLAN
      • PLAN
      • PLAN!
  • Work ahead with research, ESPECIALLY TRUE for international projects and prospects
prospect research basics7
Prospect Research Basics
  • Meet with Research at end of fiscal year or include in planning meeting(s) over the summer
  • Inform Research as early as possible of annual travel calendar
  • Determine scope of services needed as early as possible
    • Also determine if information needs vary by staff (ie President, ED, new staff person, volunteer)
prospect research basics8
Prospect Research Basics
  • Typical sources/methods:
    • Books/directories (ie, Who’s Who)
    • CD-ROMs – many of the directories are now on CD
    • On-line databases – fee-based
    • Internet sites – free
prospect research basics9
Prospect Research Basics
  • Most of the sources used today are now in electronic form and available via the web – either free or fee-based:
    • Newspapers
    • Magazines/periodicals
    • Directories
    • CD-ROMs
    • Bibliographies/links
prospect research basics10
Prospect Research Basics
  • Information necessary for relationship building/solicitation for domestic prospects:
    • Insider/securities holdings
    • Real Estate holdings/value
    • Privately held company information and ownership
    • Non-profit affiliations/gifts
    • Biographical information & interests
  • Information is collected, synthesized, analyzed and organized into a written profile
prospect research basics11
Prospect Research Basics
  • Sound easy?
  • Prospect research is demanding and time-consuming (although fun!)
  • Typical timeframe is 8 hours for a comprehensive profile
  • International research poses more challenges and adds complexities to the research process
  • Expectations need to be adjusted
international prospect research
International Prospect Research
  • Special Challenges
    • Information on international prospects is not often public nor accessible for a fee
    • Information that is available on international prospects is often not in the English language
    • Researcher often has little to start with and names/naming conventions in different countries are confusing yet specific
    • Researcher needs to become expert on different countries and regions to research effectively
international prospect research13
International Prospect Research
  • Research requires greater lead time – rush jobs are sure to fail, not produce information and not meet anyone’s expectations…
international prospect research14
International Prospect Research
  • International research takes more time (for reasons we will go into shortly) and may require additional information for traveling staff (President/VP/ED or if staff person new to area)
    • Country Profile
    • Economic Profile
    • Customs, Travel tips
    • Language
    • Prospect Profile
    • Other Contacts/Network
international prospect research15
International Prospect Research
  • Try to focus the researcher on just a few geographical areas so that she can become intimately familiar with them (i.e.,culture, custom, families, economics, philanthropy)
  • Determine how the researcher will interface with your program – will she be responsible for identifying wealthy prospects, researching names you provide or researching the country, customs, etc as a whole?
  • So…what do you really need?
international prospect research16
International Prospect Research
  • Remember to “determine the scope”
  • Information needed to qualify and cultivate international prospects is the same as needed for domestic prospects but add country information to the list and build in more time for retrieval:
    • Wealth indicators/assets
      • Real estate holdings, business wealth, family wealth, stock holdings; foundation affiliation, other assets
    • Biographical/interest information
    • Business/professional
    • Non-profit affiliations/gifts
international prospect research17
International Prospect Research
  • Here is a highlight a few good sources to get you started
  • More extensive bibliography included for you to use or distribute back at the office
international prospect research18
International Prospect Research
  • General sites
    • Dow Jones Interactive (approx. $75 month additional fees for articles)
    • Dialog ($300 to sign up and monthly fees for use); has over 400 databases, many international sources and sites
    • Bloomberg Box (about $1500 per month; covers every publicly traded company in the world and profiles on high level individuals; government officials etc)
    • Join PRSCT-L, FUNDUK and INTFUND list serves
international prospect research19
International Prospect Research
  • General sites
    • New England Development Research Association (NEDRA –
    • Internet Prospector –
    • Forbes –
    • Virtual reference –
    • AJR Newslink –
    • Aileena –
international prospect research20
International Prospect Research
  • Phone directories
    • Telephone Directories - find foreign phone numbers, has links to country directories
    • International Look-up - addresses and phone numbers of foreign companies
    • International Directories – - yellow and white pages of many countries
prospect research europe
Prospect Research - Europe
  • Tips on Getting Information
    • Long-standing attitude of fear toward the release of private names and information (many think its based on WWII and dictatorships)
    • Privacy and data protection legislation is being incorporated into national law(s).
    • Researchers need to avoid highly personal information (as always)
prospect research europe22
Prospect Research - Europe
  • Alternate/Supplemental Approach
    • If you have one good volunteer/prospect, use them to review lists of other prospects for you
    • Ask research to look for prospects who live in NY but have European business addresses
    • This has been very effective in my experience
prospect research europe23
Prospect Research - Europe
  • According to Christopher Carnie, Director Factary Europe & The Factary (NEDRA News, Winter 2000 Vol 13.2), researchers will find it easier if they can speak/read at least four languages but that some sites do translate into English language.
  • It appears that more and more sites are offering an English translation.
  • Included with this information is a listing of site useful for European prospect research.
prospect research europe24
Prospect Research – Europe
  • Some pointers:
    • has Italy, Russia, Spain (put other ones)
    • Newspapers are your best source, especially European “yellow press” which covers society, includes biographies and social “who’s whos”
    • Check out for society news in Europe (mainly UK)
prospect research asia
Prospect Research - Asia
  • Some pointers
    • Learn the naming convention!
    • Families are the main focus of financial assistance, not philanthropy
    • Stigma associated with public displays of wealth/conspicuous consumption
    • Lexis/Nexis is the most comprehensive source, next is Dow Jones Interactive. These are great starting points.
prospect research asia26
Prospect Research - Asia
  • These sources work if your prospect is prominent enough to be mentioned in the news.
  • International Whos Who and wealthy lists from Forbes, Fortune and Asia Inc are a great next step as is Whos Who of Business in Asia and Asiaweek has an annual list of powerful people.
prospect research asia27
Prospect Research - Asia
  • If prospect is an executive at a major company, information will come even easier.
  • Bloomberg box (check business school library) makes searching by name easy and even collects biographical information on Asian/foreign individuals.
  • Asian Company Handbook lists company’s shareholders.