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Prospect Management for Today's Prospect Research Analyst

Fri, December 20, 2013 12:55 PM | Laura Parshall
Researchers in small shops are often required to wear a lot of hats, and sometimes, the responsibility falls to them to create entire new programs within their organization from scratch. This can be intimidating, to say the least. In this article, Elizabeth McCartney from the University of St. Joseph describes her experiences with creating the beginnings of a prospect management system.

Prospect Management for Today's Prospect Research Analyst


In many smaller advancement shops like mine, many Prospect Research Analysts are asked to create and/or maintain a prospect management system for gift officer activities in addition to fulfilling their standard research activities.  When I created our prospect management system at the University of Saint Joseph, which is similar to a "moves management" system in a corporate sales department, I struggled to implement some processes that others suggested to me. Where in the database could we indicate whether a prospect is being qualified, is being cultivated, was recently solicited, or is being stewarded with such clarity that I would feel confident that this information was consistently up to date when I extracted it for reports? 


Ultimately, I came up with a solution: have gift officers include their present relationship stage within each new action that they create with the database.  In our shop, the one datum that I know gift officers are sure to create in the database is a new action, as their performance is measured in part by the number of actions that they complete.  I developed a required drop down menu within a new action that enables gift officers to select the prospect's stage in the relationship cycle.  I have since found that I can pull last actions for assigned prospects to determine their stage in the relationship with incredible accuracy. 


For all who are involved in prospect management or know the prospect management specialist in your shop, please consider using or sharing this idea with others.  It has not only made our data more accurate, but has made it easier for me to focus on analysis rather than data cleanup.  Happy Holidays!


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