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Is that prospect worth it?

Use the 'Donor Qualifyer Tool'

“My brother works for this big heimishe entrepreneur. They say the guy is a real ba’al tzedakah. Maybe it’s k’dai for you to get in touch with him?”

It’s exciting when someone drops the name of a potential donor. Who knows – that name could become a major supporter of your organization one day.

But – what if they don’t? Following up on these name-dropped leads expends precious time and resources. What if that investment doesn’t provide a return? Or too small a return?

Here’s a simple 3-step process to help you “qualify” prospects – to determine which names should be pursued, and which should be… dropped.

Step 1 – The Connection Piece

Unless you rely heavily on cold-calling – and 90% of us have neither the time nor stamina to do this right – you need to make sure you have a connection to the prospect. An individual connected both to you and the potential donor who could make a slightly “warmer” introduction.

Who’s your connecting point? Perhaps the “name-dropper” himself. Perhaps a current donor, a board member, or even a friend. Whoever they are, they play a crucial role in boosting the chances that your prospect will bother to respond to your overtures.

Step 2 – The Research Piece

Your well-meaning name-dropper surely has only the best intentions. But you can never really know if they have their facts straight.

Is this prospect truly in a position to give? If he is, is he really as charitable as he’s being described? And what if he prioritizes causes different than yours?

So, ask your name-dropper: do you know who else this person has given to? Do you have a sense for how much he gives? Can you give me any more info?

Google can help you in this step as well. Search the prospect’s name and try to answer these questions:

- Does this person really have money?

- Do I find examples of charitable giving?

- Do they support organizations like mine?

On top of these answers, any additional information you can glean about them will help you plan your next steps toward gaining their support – or help you make an informed decision to stop pursuing them.

Step 3 – The Measuring Piece

Once you have all your information, you can take advantage of a helpful little tool I’ve developed to help you rate your prospects. I call it TPQ (The Prospect Qualifier).

Especially useful in helping you prioritize between a number of prospects, TPQ works by measuring three aspects of each prospect:

  1. Connectedness
  2. Ability
  3. Fit

Using the data you’ve gathered from Steps 1 and 2, score your prospect according to the following questions:

Connectedness: Do you know someone connected to the prospect?

  • Yes, and I can count on them to get me in touch with the prospect (6 points)
  • Yes, and I can use their name when reaching out to the prospect (3 points)
  • No one (0 points)

Ability: What’s the prospect’s capacity to give?

  • Research shows they do give to others on a level that would be significant to my organization (2 points)
  • No clarity on whether or not they give significantly to others (0 points)

Fit: Would your prospect support your type of project?

  • Yes, he gives to organizations like mine (2 points)
  • No clarity (0 points)

(For a non-frum donor, that might mean that he gives to Jewish organizations in general. For a frum prospect, it might mean he gives to your type of cause.)

Once you’ve done your rating, here’s how to count things up:

7+ points? Level 1. - Great prospect. 

Worth prioritizing. Worth significant time, focus, and energy, in fact. You’re well-connected with them, and/or they’re at least a good fit for your cause. Give this one all you’ve got!

3-6 points? Level 2. - Good prospect.

Worth a reasonable effort. Since you’re either connected to them or somewhat confident they fit your organization, definitely keep them on your list.

2 points or less? Level 3. - Unworthy prospect. 

If you have better prospects in your pipeline, forget about this one. If you don’t have better prospects, you’ll want to work on getting more clarity or building some kind of connection to this not-too-fantastic name.

Don’t waste time and effort on a non-opportunity. Putting potential donors through this quick, easy qualifying process will allow you to navigate the donor-cultivation process with more confidence and clarity.
And that’s a statement I don’t have to qualify!

B’hatzlacha raba,


© Avraham Lewis & Co.