Prospect research identifies, analyses, and recommends avenues of financial support so that the fundraising goals of a non-profit organisation can be realised.

As a non-profit organisation (NPO), you have to find people who will provide you with the money to carry out your work. To ensure long-term survival, you need to:

  • Keep the donors you have.
  • Continually find new donors.
  • Try to expand how many donors you have.

A person or organisation that you identify as a potential donor is called a “prospect”.

Prospect research is the activity that helps you identify potential supporters – donors and people who assist or advise you. Prospect research involves finding out how to make contact with people, companies and other funding agencies so that they can get to know you and your work.

This information is available in newspapers, magazines and on the internet. You can also ask other people and organisations for ideas. Your existing donors may also be able to suggest where else you can go for support.

While most support comes as money, remember it is also possible to find people who will donate gifts in kind – donations of other things besides money, such as:

  • Equipment, for example, computers, a photocopier, a fridge.
  • Products like stationery, nappies, food and toys.
  • Services such as legal advice and bookkeeping.

These gifts in kind have a financial value – when donated they reduce the cost of carrying out your work.

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