Thursday, November 2, 2023

Sometimes, describing what we do as Prospect Researchers just isn't as easy as it should be!

One of the questions I'm most often asked when meeting someone new is, "What do you do?" It's easy to tell someone that I work in Prospect Research, but sometimes not nearly as easy to describe it. After working in the field for 25 years now, you'd think it would be easier, but I find it often depends on who you're talking to. Some people find it interesting and cool while others find it downright creepy. After telling someone what you do, it's sometimes difficult (fortunately, only rarely) to hear them respond, "Oh, you're a stalker." #notastalker

As part of our onboarding procedure for new employees, I'm often asked to spend some time with them to explain what I do and especially the role it plays in philanthropy. While it often seems easiest just to say "I'm the office detective," I really try to show how the work I do, that we do as a profession, helps our organization, from not just our philanthropy team, but also our leadership, and most importantly, the patients and their families we serve at our hospital.

Sure, I track down phone numbers and new addresses so that we can make that ever important personal contact with a donor or prospect. However, I can also tell you things like that donor or prospect has a multi-million dollar vacation home in addition to their primary residence, that they have social media posts praising (or criticizing) our organization or that they just got a big new promotion or were mentioned in the newspaper. As part of our increased due diligence process, I can also look at publicly-available legal records to see if there's a bankruptcy filing, lien or criminal record which might not make them the best prospect for us at this time.

In honor of Halloween, The Helen Brown Group shared an interesting post about the perceived creepiness of prospect research titled What's so spooky about Prospect Research?

This post led me to an interesting thread on Reddit, Does Prospect Research feel invasive? There are definitely some interesting opinions shared here.

Bottom line, I'm proud of the work I do and how it benefits not only our department, but our organization's leaders, and in the end, the patients and their families that we serve at our hospital. Otherwise, I likely wouldn't have been doing it for 25 years now!

Monday, April 17, 2023

JOB OPENING - The PKD Foundation

The PKD Foundation, based in Kansas City, MO, is in search of a Director of Prospect Management and Research. NOTE: This is a remote position.

Interested candidates can find more information and apply here.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Research links for UMKC presentation - February 24, 2023

Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement
APRA International
APRA Missouri/Kansas chapter

Below are the links I recommend for Prospect Research:

Address & Phone Resources
Clustrmaps - search by name often (but not always!) provides address, address history, other persons living at address, neighbors, other properties owned, phone, email and birthdate
US Phonebook – search by name, by phone number, by address

Aircraft Lookup
FAA Aircraft Inquiry - easiest to search by name or state/county

Biographical Information
LinkedIn – provides current employer and title as well as employment history; also lists degrees and educational institutions attended; sometimes lists professional and community affiliations

Business Information
Dun & Bradstreet – provides a limited amount of free business snapshots

Foundation & NonProfit Information
Foundation Directory Online (a service of Foundation Center; fee-based)
Foundation Search (fee-based)
GuideStar (free to view basic information with sign-up)
ProPublica NonProfit Explorer - search nonprofits by organization or employee/director names

Government Resources (local)
Jackson County, MO marriage records – useful for confirming exact birthdates and spouse names
Johnson County, KS District Court records – useful for searching marriage and divorce records
Missouri – searchable database of Circuit Court records in Missouri; limited detail only provides basic information on everything from traffic tickets to estates to divorces

Library Resources (local)
Johnson County Public Library – free library card entitles access to several online databases including local and national newspaper archives, obituaries, genealogy resources, and other databases
Kansas City Public Library - free library card entitles access to several online databases including Kansas City History (Missouri Valley collection), vital records, genealogy & history resources, business & nonprofit resources, and magazines & newspapers.
Mid-Continent Public Library - free library card entitles access to several online databases including local and national newspaper archives, obituaries, genealogy resources, and other databases

Political Contributions
Open Secrets – search by donor name, state, zip code, occupation or recipient; links to actual copy of FEC contribution filing with home address, employer and occupation of donor

Public Company Salaries & Holdings
Securities & Exchange Commission – search by public company name; the Proxy Statement (DEF14A) contains salary and inside shareholder information
Rank and Filed - searchable SEC filings presented in a modern, graphic format

Publications (local)
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Business Journal
The Independent - Kansas City's society and special event magazine
Kansas City Magazine - formerly 435 Magazine

Real Estate Resources
Google Maps – provides aerial and sometimes “street views” of residences
Jackson County, MO – searchable by name or property address
Johnson County, KS – searchable by property address only; includes photo of residence
Clay County, MO – searchable by name or property address
Platte County, MO – searchable by name or property address
Cass County, MO – searchable by name or property address – tax assessor database by state. Named for Christina Pulawski, a former prospect researcher at Northwestern University, now a fundraising consultant
Trulia – nationwide real estate database searchable by city, zip code, or property address
Zillow – nationwide real estate database searchable by city, zip code, or property address

Paid Resources
LexisNexis for Development Professionals ($300-$500 per month for one user) – multi-function toolkit for fundraisers includes address & phone history, birthdates (month & year only), e-mail addresses, family relationships, real estate assets, newspaper archives, and employment links.
iWave PRO
These are multi-function websites for fundraisers and researchers which aggregate data from several public sources.  These include capacity ratings, charitable giving, Dun & Bradstreet, Federal Election Contributions, Foundation Search, Guidestar Directors and Foundations, Hoover’s business information, Marquis Who’s Who, aircraft and large watercraft ownership, and more!  Subscription price often includes monthly webinars and best practices white papers.  Great for small research shops who need a lot of information quickly!

p.s. And don't forget to Google!!!

Recommended Reading


Monday, February 7, 2022

JOB POSTING - Prospect Research Analyst at Saint Luke's in Kansas City

It's been awhile since I've posted, so Happy 2022 to all of my Prospect Research colleagues who follow this blog!  May you all have a happy and healthy 2022!

I was just made aware of a job opportunity here in the Kansas City area for a Prospect Research Analyst with Saint Luke's Health System.  If you're not familiar with Saint Luke's, they have a great reputation as a healthcare provider and employer here in Kansas City.  It's where I get my healthcare and I've had many friends who have worked there!

Good luck if you decide to apply!