Creating profiles is one of the favorite parts of my job. I love putting together pieces of the puzzle to give our gift officers more information on their prospects and donors.
In my 18 years as a prospect researcher, I've found my profiles have evolved considerably. Thanks to the Internet, what used to take days to compile can now often be done in a matter of hours. No more trips to the library or courthouse, which I actually miss! I once spent close to a week compiling a six-page profile for a major gift ask from a local philanthropist and business owner whose several children all had individual relationships with our organization which I wanted to capture in the profile. These days, I find less is more, and as a rule of thumb, I try to keep most of my profiles to one page, two if there is lots of pertinent information available on a prospect. I find that I have less time to create lengthy profiles and I've found that gift officers have less time to read them! In this age of "information overload," the same concept can apply to research profiles. Helen Brown stated it best earlier this year, "Don't bury the lead!"
If it's not already obvious, to say I'm passionate about profiles would be an understatement! Between meetings, making database updates, and reviewing lists, I almost find the limited time I get to spend on research profiles these days therapeutic! That said, I'm excited to share a recent post on PRSPCT-L which contains a link to not only several profile templates, but also several articles on profile trends and commentary at the top of the page. Thanks to Jen Filla for sharing this with us!
A recently-added highlight is the presentation Jen Filla and Michelle Machiavello gave at this year's APRA International Conference, "Improve Your Profile Technique." Well worth the download and I especially enjoyed slide six!
Happy profiling, everyone!