Best Practices

While Google is disrupting a lot of businesses, it has it limits.

Any free search engine, no matter how much money it generates in ad revenue, has it limits. In effect, we get what we pay for.

CPR has mastered the most pristine search techniques, to quickly prove what's real — and what's not — from every search engine. We're vigilant about systematically avoiding "false positives" and statistical miss-hits.

During economic times that remain challenging for many, it's tempting for those responsible for budgets to misinterpret what a free search engine can do. In the hands of true experts, it can do a lot. But non- specialists risk much and create significant opportunity costs when, in effect, they spend all day Googling. Nothing is more costly than wasted time.

Try a couple of tests against the experts:

  • How quickly can you find the biggest gift Bill Gates has made? And make sure you're not mixing up Bill Gates with his father, who shares the same name! An expert can accomplish this in about ten minutes.

  • In the area of Donor Upgrades — or ensuring that lower level supporters are giving to capacity — it’s almost always more cost effective to increase the contributions from a long-standing donor, as opposed to trying to acquire a new one.

    Some donors sit in a nonprofit's database giving at a relatively low level for years. With the notable exception of universities and health care settings, which often have solid demographic data, prospect research tends not to serve planned gifts well. Planned giving is a relatively discreet business, where the best research is self-identified from the prospects.

    Still other donors may support a nonprofit at a relatively low level and give larger amounts elsewhere. Why? And which, if any, of these lower level donors should be targeted for research and solicitation? The search for appropriate donor upgrades is about patterns. Here's a quick example. Say a nonprofit offers health care services. In that nonprofit’s database there are several lower level donors who might capable of giving more. Take this challenge to if you can wisely invest an organization's limited research budget. Choose which of the following deserves additional research by clicking on an option below. See if the pros agree with you:

Prospect
Mr. and Mrs. John T. Smith III
Oscar Garcia
Marie Wang
Last five years of giving
$750 in 2014
$2,500 in 2014
$200 in 2014
$400 in 2013
$2,500 in 2013
$150 in 2013
$250 in 2012
$2,500 in 2012
$150 in 2012
$150 in 2011
$2,500 in 2011
$50 in 2011
Total Giving 2000-2009:
$25,000 one time gift
$100,000 pledged inthe last five years
Major gift to a competitor of your non-profit
$25,000 one time gift
$100,000 pledged in the last five years
Known by a member of your organization's board or staff
Yes
Yes
No
Age
55
64
80
Prospect:

Mr. and Mrs. John T. Smith III

Last five years of giving:
  • $750 in 2014
  • $400 in 2013
  • $250 in 2012
  • $150 in 2011

Total Giving: $2,250

Major gift to a competitor of your non-profit: $25,000 one time gift
Known by a member of your organization's board or staff: YES
Age: 55
Research further
Don't research further
Prospect:

Oscar Garcia

Last five years of giving:
  • $2,500 in 2014
  • $2,500 in 2013
  • $2,500 in 2012
  • $2,500 in 2011

Total Giving: $1 Million +

Major gift to a competitor of your non-profit:
Known by a member of your organization's board or staff: YES
Age: 64
Research further
Don't research further
Prospect:

Marie Wang

Last five years of giving:
  • $200 in 2014
  • $150 in 2013
  • $150 in 2012
  • $50 in 2011

Total Giving: $1,175

Major gift to a competitor of your non-profit: $100,000 pledged in the last five years
Known by a member of your organization's board or staff: NO
Age: 80
Research further
Don't research further