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The Prospector

A Publication of APRA Metro DC


Discover New Ideas | Learn New Approaches | Build New Connections

Newsletter Chair & Editor


Daniel Greeley

INSIDE THIS ISSUE


1 From the Presidents
Desk
2 Scholarship Deadline!
3 The Job Board
3 Peer Screening
8 Relationship Mapping,
Genealogy Style

SAVE

THE

DATE!

Spring Conference
4/22/2014 @ TNC
8 am to 5 pm
For more info. on this
and other events, visit:
http://aprametrodc.blogs
pot.com/p/events.html

November 11, 2014


Volume 2 Issue 2

From the Presidents Desk:


Transitions and Transformations
By Devon Villa Gessert

Director of Prospect Research and Management at American University

As we enter the winter months and prepare for the holidays and
new year, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about a few
exciting things that have been going on with our chapter:
In addition to the many wonderful speakers who have delivered
brown bag presentations -- Jennifer Filla of Aspire Research Group
and Armando Zumaya of Bridge Housing -- we have a few board
transitions. This spring, I will transition away from being Board
President and into an emeritus position. The Board approved
Lindsey Nadeau, our current Programming Chair, stepping into her
new role as President of the Chapter. It is bittersweet to leave my
post, but I am confident Lindsey will continue to grow the chapter
just as she has greatly enhanced our programming. Additionally,
we welcomed our new At-Large Board member, Anne Dean,
Director of Research and Relationship Management at George
Washington University. We are excited to have her expertise as
we embark on a new year!

Armando Zumayas Presentation


@ TNC

Presidents Message continued on page 2.

Jen Filla Presentation


@ Smithsonian Institution

The Prospector

Page 2
Presidents Message from page 1:
As Dr. Una Osili, Director of Research at the Indiana University
Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, described at Prospect
Development 2014 in Las Vegas, Philanthropy is under
transformation. If there is one thing I learned from the
conference, it is prospect research is at the forefront of this
transformation. We are thinking more like fundraisers these days
and striving to be more strategic in our approach to our work as
opposed to just search and deliver the information. Come talk
about this and explore more ideas at our upcoming happy hours
and brown bags presentations!
Along the lines of exciting things are new sponsor opportunities
for industry leading strategic partners and the APRA Metro DC
Scholarship to MARC 2015 check out our website for more
information about these two initiatives or contact any one of our
Board members for assistance.

Philanthropy is
under
transformation.

Have a wonderful fall and winter and I look forward to seeing you
at future APRA Metro DC events!

APRA Metro DC MARC Scholarship Deadline is Approaching!


APRA Metro DC is awarding one scholarship to attend the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Researchers Conference. The
ideal applicant has contributed to the prospect development community through volunteer roles, is
currently pursuing a career in prospect development, and has clearly articulated goals to benefit their
organization and their own professional development while attending MARC. Does this sound like you?

Apply now by visiting APRA Metro DCs website!


http://aprametrodc.blogspot.com/p/scholarship.html
The Deadline is December 1, 2014.

MARC was my first conference, and I remember returning to work afterward with a renewed
excitement and deeper understanding of our field. Its a valuable introduction to best practices,
networking, and learning from others successes. The conference certainly made an impression
on me, and I hope the chapters scholarship can provide that experience for someone else.
-- Lindsey Nadeau

Page 3

The Prospector

The Job Board (Job Board)


Officer, Prospect Strategy and Research,
Philanthropic Partnerships
Development Researcher
Research and Records Coordinator
Grant Writer/Prospect Researcher
Data Analyst
Director of CRM & Analytics

Pew Charitable Trusts

DC

10/28/2014

University of Virginia
University of Maryland
University College
Foundation for the NIH
Center for Community Change
Operation Smile

VA
MD

10/21/2014
10/7/2014

MD
DC
VA

9/22/2014
9/17/2014
9/16/2014

Visit our Resources Page, APRA Intl. and The Chron. of Philan. for current job postings.

More than a Checkbook: Using Peer Screening to


Inspire Supporters and Find New Donors
By Andrea Balzano

Senior Development Research Analyst at the World Wildlife Fund

Peer screening can


increase the pool of
major gift prospects
and at the same time
engage current
donors and
volunteers more
deeply in the work of
the nonprofit.

Peer screening is a traditional prospecting method for identifying


new major gift prospects and potential high-level volunteers. Peer
screening (or peer review) is a process of gathering information
about prospects from a nonprofits key volunteers. Peer screeners
review lists of people they might know and indicate whether
those they know might have major gift capacity and interest in
the nonprofits mission. Peer screeners can also be asked to help
introduce those people to the organization. Peer screening can
increase the pool of major gift prospects and at the same time
engage current donors and volunteers more deeply in the work of
the nonprofit.
Peer screening is used most often by nonprofits like universities,
museums and health care organizations that have constituents
who are also clients, many of whom may have substantial means.
Nonprofits that provide a service directly to their potential
supporters have robust databases with information about people
who already know them and whose trust (one hopes) the
organizations have already earned. These nonprofits with natural
constituencies of means find most of their major donors in their
databases.
Peer Screening continued on page 4.

Page 4

The Prospector

Peer screening from page 3:


Cause-related nonprofits, on the other hand, may not have
natural constituents, or may have constituents without the means
to become major donors, and so face a different kind of
prospecting challenge. Environmental organizations arguably
serve everyone. Child welfare organizations serve children who
often are in need of help precisely because they or their parents
and communities do not have resources to make major donations.
Social justice organizations serve people some may even consider
undeserving of help. Because these cause-related nonprofits do
not have natural constituencies, they have to look outside their
databases for new prospects.
Asking major supporters and volunteers to recommend others to
become involved with a nonprofit organization is a longstanding
fundraising practice, and the process does not have to be
formalized or systematic. Engaging supporters and volunteers in
meaningful fundraising activities that make them feel valuable
beyond their ability to write large checks is an important goal in
itself, and can inspire higher levels of giving. Additionally,
precisely because of the greater need of cause-related
organizations to look outside of their databases for major gift
supporters, a peer screening process that systematically leverages
supporters relationships to their peersfriends, colleagues,
neighbors, business associatescan be an effective and efficient
way to find new donors.

Additionally,
precisely because of
the greater need of
cause-related
organizations to look
outside of their
databases for major
gift supporters, a
peer screening
process that
systematically
leverages supporters
relationships to their
peersfriends,
colleagues,
neighbors, business
associatescan be an
effective and
efficient way to find
new donors.

To accomplish both goalsenfranchising and inspiring current


supporters and finding new donorsthere are three essential
steps: choosing the peer reviewer, building customized lists for
review, and following up effectively.

Choosing the Peer Reviewer


Peer screening is a real opportunity for nonprofit major donors
and other volunteers to leverage their personal resources and to
contribute their time and effort, not just money, in order to see
their values put into action in the world.
A peer screener should be someone who is highly connected
through his or her professional or civic work, and who is willing to
help. Most major donors understand fundraising and the value of
providing resources to an organization whose mission they believe
in, but they still may be uncomfortable with the process of
disclosing financial or other information about people they know.
It is important to assure volunteers that they will not be asked to
reveal or to do anything they feel uncomfortable about, and that
Peer Screening continued on page 5.

To accomplish both
goalsenfranchising
and inspiring current
supporters and
finding new donors
there are three
essential steps:
choosing the peer
reviewer, building
customized lists for
review, and following
up effectively.

Page 5

The Prospector

Peer screening from page 4:


the purpose of the peer screening is to connect people they know
with an organization whose mission they believe in. It is important
to determine a peer screeners willingness to participate in one or
more of a range of activities, from simple identification, to
hosting a group event, accompanying the staff person to a
meeting, or even asking for a donation.

Building Customized Lists


Building the list for a peer screening session can be time
consuming. The list can include full name, job title and employer,
city and state, internal donation information and the name of the
organization (for example, professional or nonprofit board)
through which the volunteer reviewer might know the prospect.
As mentioned, a university can pull lists efficiently from an
internal database when the goal is to identify alumni who might
become major gift prospects. Cause-related organizations, on the
other hand, may need to find major gift prospects both from their
pool of current donors and also from those who have not yet
donated and do not have a previous connection to the
organization. This makes the list building process more
complicated.
Typically, universities conduct peer screening sessions where a
group of peer screeners are each presented with a list of up to
400 names of alumni who attended at the same time, and who
belonged to the same college organizations or played on the same
sports teams. Volunteer peer screeners are asked to quickly scan
the lists for people they know who might be able to make large
donations, a process that can take about one hour. Peer screeners
indicate a giving capacity range for people they know, note any
other relevant information about the people in a notes section,
and indicate whether they would be willing to facilitate a
meeting, host an event, or participate in a gift solicitation.
Results are then coded into the database to produce data points
for prioritizing lists for qualification. These codes are combined
with other kinds of data points (wealth screening scores
purchased from outside vendors, giving likelihood scores derived
from internal giving data, etc.) to create scores used to prioritize

Building the list for a peer screening session can be time consuming.
The list can include full name, job title and employer, city and state,
internal donation information and the name of the organization (for
example, professional or nonprofit board) through which the volunteer
reviewer might know the prospect.
Peer Screening continued on page 6.

Page 6

The Prospector

Peer screening from page 5:


lists of the most likely major gift prospects. Often the process is
treated as a numbers game, where the goal is to find as many
highly rated prospects as possible.
Cause-related organizations have the opportunity to use peer
screening a little differently. There can be less emphasis on
producing codes to upload into the database, and more emphasis
on engaging the peer screener in meaningful fundraising
activities. A Development Officer might conduct a session one-onone with a single peer screener, with a couple, or with close
business partners, using a shorter customized list (perhaps 150 to
250 names). This session may then become a higher-value
cultivation move in itself, and can produce more than just more
codes to upload into the databasein fact, such coding may not
even be necessary. The trade off to screening fewer names and
getting fewer results or hits, is that the activity may result in a
bigger cultivation impact for the volunteer peer screeners. As
with other kinds of wealth screenings, a few quality hits can
make the process worthwhile.
Because cause-related organizations do not have databases filled
with natural constituents, they need to be creative in building
lists of potential supporters for their volunteers to screen. Causerelated organizations will need to produce two kinds of lists, one
from information contained in an internal donor database, which
can be organized by location (within 25 miles of a peer screeners
home, for example) and include donation information, and a
second from information gathered from external data sources.
External sources will of course not include internal donor
information. Several tools exist to make external list building
easier. An initial list can be produced using a relationship mapping
product like Relationship Science, BoardEx or Prospect Visual,
which can then be filled in with information from company and
Here is an example of a list. The Source sections indicate the organization the peer screener and the people
on the list have in common. An accompanying instruction sheet explains how to answer the questions.

Peer Screening continued on page 7.

Page 7

The Prospector
A key is not to try to
produce perfect
information, but to
keep it simple.

Finally, having a
professional looking
list is as important as
having correct
information for the
peer screener to
review A wellorganized list will
make a good
impression, but be
prepared to go with
the flow.

Peer screening from page 6:


organization websites that list current board members and
employees. Explore the universe of possible connections to the
volunteer peer screener to produce a solid list of possible
connections.
A key is not to try to produce perfect information, but to keep it
simple. If you get to the point where you are looking up
information on people one-by-one (looking up people from outside
board lists to see if any of them are donors to your organization,
or researching donors from your internal database to find out
where they work, if you dont already have that information), you
may want to stop, and consider whether this time-consuming
research is worth the time. The volunteer peer screener will likely
know only a handful of people on their list, so taking the time to
make the list perfect will be wasted on the people the volunteer
does not know.
Finally, having a professional looking list is as important as having
correct information for the peer screener to review. Whether the
peer screener follows the instructions exactly during the peer
screening session (writing notes in the note section or consistently
marking columns as to their willingness to contact or the
strength of their relationship) is not as important as helping the
volunteer to help you, and enhancing the volunteers trust in the
organization. A well-organized list will make a good impression,
but be prepared to go with the flow.

Following Up Effectively
Building trust and avoiding the loss of credibility are two sides of
the same coin. After a staff member engages a volunteerperhaps
a board memberin the work of peer screening, where they might
even have volunteered to reach out, someone from the
organization should follow up productively. The last thing you
want to do is persuade an important supporter to spend time and
energy reviewing lists of prominent people they might know and
be willing to engage, only to leave him or her wondering whether
anything came of that effort. You dont want to leave your board
members and major supporters feeling ineffectual. A staff
member may need to follow-up with the peer screener several
times to verify information and to get to the next steps of
qualifying and cultivating new prospects. Use the nonprofits
existing well-functioning prospect management system to
schedule appropriate follow-up.

Conclusion
Helping volunteers to help you by bringing others on board
through peer screening not only increases the donor pool, but can
be a gift to current supporters. Volunteering is a more personal
way to contribute to a cause than writing a check, and by
participating in peer screening, supporters can feel they had a

Page 8

The Prospector

Relationship Mapping, Genealogy Style


By Madaleine J. Laird
Prospect Researcher at American University

"1 to 2 years of experience in prospect research or similar


positions/roles involving Internet-based research, genealogical
research, financial analysis, or data management." Four short
months ago, I responded to a job posting that contained this
intriguing requirement. I was thrilled at the thought of finally
putting the genealogical research skills I have been honing for
over a decade to good use. Openings for staff genealogists are few
and far between, even at lineage and historical societies!
Determining whether or not prospects with a common surname
are related and ensuring that family connections are accurately
represented in the database are just a couple of the genealogystyle research requests I have tackled during my first few months
on the job. Below are two such research questions that can be
answered using genealogy skills. I hope these examples give other
researchers ideas about how to find information on prospect
familial relationships. Please note, names and other identifying
details have been changed in the examples that follow to protect
the privacy of the individuals involved.

Question #1: The Wrong Robert


"During our last phone conversation, David Fisher mentioned that
he's the son of former board member Robert Fisher. Even though
there is a Robert Fisher listed as David's father in our database, I
think David's linked to the wrong Robert. David also told me that
his father lives in Ohio, but the Robert Fisher he's connected to
has a Pennsylvania address."

Answer #1: Right Family, Wrong Relationship


Because the Robert Fisher with the Pennsylvania address was only
five years older than David, it was obvious that he could not be
David's father. David was definitely connected to the wrong
Robert. The fundraiser who submitted the request above had
already assisted me by locating an Ohio-based Robert Fisher in the
database. But, was he the correct Robert?
People who are related almost always have more than a surname
in common, so I started looking for other connections between
David Fisher and the Ohio-based Robert Fisher. Both men had
attended the same educational institution as undergraduate
students. Their names also appeared in an obituary, which listed
the Ohio-based Robert Fisher as a surviving son and David Fisher
as a surviving grandson.
Genealogy continued on page 9.

People who are


related almost always
have more than a
surname in common,
so I started looking
for other connections
between David Fisher
and the Ohio-based
Robert Fisher.

Page 9

The Prospector
Genealogy from page 8:

And what about the Pennsylvania-based Robert Fisher? Was he


also related to David, or was that an unfortunate error? As it turns
out, the Pennsylvania-based Robert Fisher showed up in the same
obituary as another surviving grandson. David was erroneously
linked to his older brother instead of his father.
Lesson #1:
Obituaries are a good source of information about familial
connections, as they often list surviving relatives as well as the
pre-deceased.

A common surname
is not enough to
establish a familial
relationship.

Question #2: Same Surname, Same Family?


"We're trying to figure out if Francis O'Neal is related to Jack
O'Neal. Francis works for Hayes & Hart LLP, and Jack is married to
Mary Callahan O'Neal. Can you look into this as soon as possible?
Thanks!"
Answer #2: Same Surname, Different Family
A common surname is not enough to establish a familial
relationship. Francis O'Neal was seven years older than Jack
O'Neal, so they were obviously not father and son, but I needed
more information to exclude other familial connections.

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In his Hayes & Hart bio, Francis O'Neal declares that he comes
from a long line of lawyers: "I represent the fifth generation of
O'Neals to practice law in Massachusetts!" Jack O'Neal does not
practice law in Massachusetts, but perhaps his father did. I still
needed more information. I located a newspaper article about
Jack O'Neal that mentions he is the only child of George O'Neal, a
retired butcher. Jack's father was not a lawyer, so Francis is not
his brother. I also found an obituary for Jack's father, which states
that George O'Neal was a Chicago native. Francis O'Neal is not
named in the obituary, and none of the surviving family members
live in Massachusetts. It seems likely that Francis O'Neal and Jack
O'Neal are not related, but if they are, it is definitely a more
distant connection.
Lesson #2:
In trying to determine if two people with a common surname have
a familial relationship, it is good practice to delve further into
each persons background. If the two individuals are related,
other aspects of their lives will overlap.
My genealogy background has already proven beneficial as I learn
to do prospect research. Both fields involve connecting people
with places and events, and putting the information found into
useful context. I enjoy discovering those elusive associations.