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The Role of Prospect Screening Procedures
“Donor prospect screening and rating techniques have become crucial elements in
developing and managing donor relationships,” says Sara Wuorinen, director of
research and prospect management for the University of Colorado – Boulder
(Boulder, CO). “Gift capacity ratings are critical as they are an objective
measurement of a constituent’s financial ability to make a charitable donation,
based on a percentage of their public assets and other wealth indicators.”
Several factors make prospect screening valuable, according to Wuorinen:
❑ Prospect screening procedures are objective and rational.
❑ They serve as point-in-time estimates; are often conservative in their findings
and can provide the institution with information to connect with the
prospective donor and his/her values, history of giving and family networks.
❑ They are typically utilized as an estimated dollar range reflecting a minimum
the prospect could give, if so inclined, over a five-year period.
When developing a rating and screening procedure, Wuorinen points out the
key resources that can be found and evaluated for each potential donor:
1. Total real estate value.
2. Public company insider stockholdings.
3. The prospective donor’s annual giving and published philanthropy.
4. Total income.
5. Private foundation assets.
6. Value of luxury items.
“The percentage of adjusted gross income that households allocate to charitable
giving varies, but higher income families often contribute between 2 and 5 percent
of their adjusted income when a strong connection or affinity exists with the
charity,” says Wuorinen. “And a crucial factor that determines a prospective donor’s
capacity to give is the affinity rating, or measurement of the prospective donor’s
connection to the organization, based on various factors of engagement.”
Affinity rating factors which impact charitable giving, according to Wuorinen,
• Consistency of annual giving and prior fundraising campaign support.
• Frequency of attendance at the organization’s events and regular contact with
the donor by leadership, staff or volunteers.
• The prospective donor’s participation on the organization’s boards or
committees and/or volunteer activity.
• The prospective donor’s willingness to allow personal information (e-mail,
phone, address) to be filed with the organization.
“Donor rating and screening procedures may be utilized in a variety of ways: in
presentations, in sourcing prospects, in justification of gift amount requests, in
focused strategy sessions, in identifying additional prospective donors and in
evaluating fundraising campaigns and efforts,” says Wuorinen.
Source: Sara Wuorinen, Director of Research and Prospect Management, University of
Colorado – Boulder, Boulder, CO. Phone (303) 541-1343. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summarize. In most instances, your corporate or foundation proposal should
include a brief (half-page) summary that states your case for funding, identifies
the problem to be addressed and provides a solution based on funding.