I. FUNDRAISING BASICS: Get R.E.A.L.! Peer Reviews & The CPI Index

In our last edition, we were discussing some different ways to do the “research” step of the Get R.E.A.L.! Process (Research, Engage, Ask, Live/Like/Love).

Now, let’s look at two other Research tools: peer reviews and something I call “the CPI index.”

Donor Prospect Peer Reviews

One of the most effective ways of researching prospective donors is asking people about them. Nonprofits often compile a list of names and have “peer review” sessions. They present the list to a select group of peers and go over the names one by one. It can also be effective to do this this one-on-one with people.

These sessions can be highly informative and helpful in gathering anecdotal information as well as hard data. One of the most helpful parts of this type of review is establishing the relationships between prospective donors.

But not everyone is comfortable talking so frankly about their peers. So I developed the “CPI Index.”

The CPI Index

CPI-SampleThe CPI Index is a form of research that attempts to “objectify” the information by scoring prospective donors on three criteria: capacity to give, philanthropic nature, and interest in your cause or organization. This helps you identify the prospective donors you should visit first.

Capacity: Does the person have money they can give your organization? If not, they won’t be good prospects–no matter how nice they may be. (Face it, at some point, your nonprofit needs cash to pay the bills and accomplish its mission.)

Philanthropic Nature: Is the person a giver? If they don’t give gifts to other organizations, chances are high they won’t give gifts to yours.

Interest: Is she interested in your cause? Bill Gates may have high capacity and high philanthropic nature, but without an interest in your cause, you’re not going to receive a gift from him.

For this kind of research, prepare a list like before but this time add the three CPI columns. Then ask people to score the prospective donors in each area on a scale of 1 (being lowest) to 5 (being highest). Then add up your scores.

People with 12’s or higher should be on your top priority list. Get to them this week!

Be sure to also look at the people that scored high C’s and P’s but only mediocre I’s. You can’t impact whether or not the person has capacity or whether or not she is philanthropic. But you can impact how interested she is in your organization. These may be people to begin cultivating for a future gift.

Peer reviews and the CPI Index are two more ways to help you accomplish the “Research” step in the Get R.E.A.L.! process of asking for money. Next week we’ll look at the step: “Engage.”

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