Do you have a healthy prospect list?

Your prospect list is always evolving, right?  I’m sure this is true for all development directors.

moving targetHowever, sometimes it can be like trying to hit a moving target.

My prospect list is no different.  With recent changes to the development structure in our organization, it’s been even more of a challenge than usual.  As we grow and add more people to each development team the prospect assignments are changing almost on a daily basis.  Roles within each team are being determined that makes it necessary for prospects to be reassigned to other members of the team.  For instance, Emeriti faculty and scholarship contacts are now all one team members responsibility.  So all prospects that fall into those categories are being reassigned to that person.

So, needless to say, I’ve been laser focused on updating my prospect list lately and making sure that it reflects the responsibilities of my role in the team.

That got me thinking….What should a healthy prospect list look like?  I did a little research and uncovered a few indicators of a healthy prospect pipeline.

First, it should include active prospects at all gift levels.  It’s important to have a strategic balance in your list that includes annual donors through major donors.

Second, your list should include active prospects at all stages of the development cycle.  This is a major key!  To be successful, it’s crucial to have prospects in the initial contact phase, cultivation phase, solicitation phase, and stewardship phase.  And, each phase should be balanced with about the same number of prospects.  You don’t want your list too top heavy in one phase over another.

Third, prospects should be moving through the various stages.  Analyze the movement regularly to see if prospects are getting stuck in one phase, and make a plan to continue movement.

Once you’ve gone through these three steps and determined that you have a “healthy” list, then make sure you add new prospects regularly.  New prospects at all stages of the development cycle can come from self-referrals that come in to your organization.  These should be available to each member of the development team for inclusion on their prospect list.

Thanks to AFP and “Creating a Healthy Prospect Pipeline” for many of these ideas.

What does your prospect list look like?  Do you have a healthy balance of prospects and donors?  Please leave a comment below.

Photo Credit:  Moving Target


About dknotek2015

I am a Development Director for the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having worked in the Development and Alumni Relations Department for the past eight years, I have a unique background in development, philanthropy, and relationship building. I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum as well as a current MBA candidate. You could say I am silver and blue through and through! I am passionate about helping others. I understand how important education is to our local community, the nation, and the world. I remember struggling as a student to finish my own education, and how grateful I was when I received support through the generosity of others. As a professional, I excel at securing private donations which support the students, faculty, programs, and research of the College of Science. I am uniquely qualified to bring potential donors together with areas about which they are passionate and feel compelled to support.
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