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Prospect Research and Management

Question: Where do prospect researchers get information from?

Answer: Almost all of the information we use comes from public sources such as magazines, newspapers, directories, journals, websites, and databases. Please note that even if the source is fee-based, it is still public. Additionally, we usually gather information that donors report themselves or college staff and faculty report from their face-to-face visits. Development officers’ contact reports are found to be extremely helpful to research as they contain information that is not publicly available and sometimes give us leads to information sources that would otherwise be undiscovered.

Examples include:
Government-mandated:
*Real estate assessments for residential and commercial properties
*Contributions to political campaigns
*Salaries of elected officials
*Salaries, by classification, of government and military workers
*Salaries of the top five officers of publicly-held companies
*Stock-holdings of the top five officers, the directors, and other insiders (those holding 5% or more of the company) of publicly-held companies
*Basic state registration information for corporations and foundations
*Basic state registration information for individuals in certain professions
*Tax filings for charitable foundations

Other types:
*Birth, marriage, and death announcements
*Press releases
*News stories
*Magazine and journal stories
*Internet databases of professional groups and other lists
*Donor rolls from other non-profit organizations
*Director and trustee lists from other non-profit and for-profit organizations
*Biographical sketches posted in directories
*Company contact, performance, and leadership information published by information aggregators

Reference: Prospect Research, a Primer for Growing Nonprofits, Cecilia Hogan, 2008

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