Are you a fundraiser or new prospect research analyst? Do you need to search efficiently and analyze and present information effectively on your donor prospects?

This course teaches you how to build a prospect profile with simple search techniques – step by step. 

Imagine the next time you pull together information about a prospect for a front-line fundraiser and she stops you in the hall and tells you how valuable it was and asks you for advice on her cultivation strategy. How cool would that be?

You have the intelligence – you just need to know the what, where and how.

Past students have transformed how they find and communicate prospect information, including changing their profile format for an easier read and sharing their insights about the information with the front-line fundraiser.

In the past twelve months I’ve seen more than 300 postings on the association list-serv seeking to fill positions in the prospect research field. As part of the greater information management industry, prospect research continues to change and grow. Trained prospect researchers are in demand!

This On-Demand Course Series is included in the Research Focused Membership Level.

Upgrade to Membership for More

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You Will Learn

In this course you will…

  • Find information in five distinct areas that are relevant for fundraising.
  • Create your own prospect profile.
  • Quickly locate key sources of public information.
  • Become a search engine power user.
  • Identify which information sources are the most reliable.
  • Get savvy about different profile strategies for different needs.
  • Translate information into fundraising action.

Should You Take This Course?

Please note that this course is designed for a researcher with three or fewer years of experience, or someone who doesn’t research often. This course is NOT designed for researchers with many years of experience preparing prospect profiles.

“The live class discussions were great! It is so important for me to be able to ask questions and learn from other students’ comments and questions. The live classes really helped me explore some of the concepts as I experienced them at work.”

Liat Regev, Cambridge MALiat Regev, Cambridge MA

“Creating the profile was the best experience for me. It was great to have a mentor review my work, offer feedback and help me dig. The videos were fun to watch and easy to understand and Jen truly desires for each one of us to succeed.”

Lisa B., Raleigh NCLisa B., Raleigh NC

You Will Receive

This course is loaded with great content. Following are some highlights and add-ons:

  • Search engine search tips plus a Google advanced search tip sheet
  • Research Links Directory of the best free and fee sources
  • Blank profile templates you can adapt and use in your office
  • After successfully completing the Capstone Assignments, you will earn a Certificate of Competency as well as a digital badge that you can use the digital badge on sites such as LinkedIn

Length and Format

Course Content and Participation

While you can consume the course in any way you like…

  • Modules: There are multiple modules of content for this course – check out the curriculum below.
  • Time: You might spend anywhere from 15 to 25 hours per module.
  • Format: Content includes reading, short videos, homework (with feedback), and quizzes.
  • Live Meetings: Your membership comes with two live, online video meetings per month; a Master Class and a Live Office Hour
  • Discussion: As a member, you can join the Slack discussion channels.

Prerequisites for Success

To be successful in this course, you should…

  • Be able to navigate internet resources and demonstrate persistence in using new and changing websites.
  • Have proficiency in MS Word and MS Excel.
  • Possess good reading, writing, and summarization skills.

Course curriculum

  • 1
    Welcome to the course!
    • Course Syllabus
    • How To Earn Your Digital Badge
    • Zoom Online Meeting Login + Instructions
    • Get Started Using Slack to Send Messages
    • Data Protection and Privacy **must read**
  • 2
    Profile Samples
    • READ | Profile Samples
    • Honickman Compilation - Referenced in some of the videos
    • Qualification Profile Template
    • Aspire Snap Bio
    • Aspire Tactical Briefing (Qualification Profile)
  • 3
    Module 1 | Anatomy of the Profile
    • READ | Anatomy of a Profile
    • WATCH | Anatomy of the Profile
    • QUIZ | 5 Profile Building Blocks
    • WATCH | Introduction to Profile Types
    • HOMEWORK 1 | Profile Comparison
  • 4
    Module 2 | Become a Search Engine Power User
    • READ | Become a Search Engine Power User
    • WATCH | Introduction to Search Engines
    • QUIZ | Power User Concepts
    • RESOURCES | Hot Tips and Tricks to Read and Bookmark
    • WATCH | Don’t Let Boolean Make You Go Boo!
    • QUIZ: Boolean Operators
    • VIDEO | Finding General Information with Search Engines
    • VIDEO | Getting Good with Google
    • RESOURCE | Google Tip Sheet
    • QUIZ | Search Challenge
    • HOMEWORK 2 | Go find something!
  • 5
    Module 3 | Introduction to Profile Search
    • READ | Introduction to Profile Search
    • READ | Institutional Information
    • VIDEO | Institutional Information
  • 6
    Module 4 | Real Estate
    • READ | Finding Real Estate
    • VIDEO | Introduction to Searching Real Estate
    • HOMEWORK 3 | Real Estate with Alan Harvill
    • VIDEO | New York City Cooperatives
    • QUIZ | Can You Find the NYC Cooperatives?
  • 7
    Module 5 | Occupation and Companies
    • READ | Finding Occupation
    • VIDEO | Introduction to Researching Occupation
    • VIDEO | Structuring Occupation Information (15m demo)
    • HOMEWORK 4 | Estimated Income with Kevin Weckesser
    • HOMEWORK 5 | Pulling Occupation Together
    • RESOURCE | Occupation Example: Christine Chao
  • 8
    Module 6 | Community Involvement
    • READ | Giving and Volunteering
    • VIDEO | Searching for Volunteering and Giving
    • QUIZ | Directors, Trustees, and Advisory Boards
    • HOMEWORK 6 | Analyzing Giving History with Nahill
    • READ | Foundations and Donor Advised Funds
    • VIDEO | Foundations and Donor Advised Funds
    • QUIZ | Foundations vs. DAFs
    • READ | Political Contributions
    • VIDEO | Political Contributions
    • HOMEWORK 7 | FEC Contributions with Neugebauer
  • 9
    Module 7 | Key Indicators + Capacity
    • VIDEO | Key Indicators
    • READ | Wealth Screenings + Capacity Ratings
    • VIDEO | Capacity Rating Levels
    • VIDEO | A Note on Luxury Items
    • HOMEWORK 8 (Optional) | Interview a Gift Officer
  • 10
    Module 8 | Information Sources
    • READ | Information Sources
    • VIDEO | Deep Web and Three Types of Information
    • VIDEO | Public vs. Private Information
    • READ | Searching Offline
    • VIDEO | Searching Offline
  • 11
    Module 9 | Capstone Profile - Pulling it All Together
    • CAPSTONE: Karen Rigg Profile
    • RESOURCE: Qualification Template for Capstone
  • 12
    Module 10 | Wrapping Up the Course
    • READ | Course Wrap-up Instructions
    • READ | How to Claim Your Digital Badge
    • HOMEWORK: Course Evaluation Survey
    • REFLECTION | What will you do next?

About the Instructor

  • Jennifer Filla

    Jennifer Filla

    Founder, CEO, and Instructor

    I’m Jennifer Filla, a Prospect Researcher and Fundraiser at Aspire Research Group LLC and co-author of Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook, part of the AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series. As a consultant, I have worked with a lot of small and large organizations that needed to build internal fundraising capacity with prospect research. I have also been a member of AFP and Apra for more than ten years, speaking and presenting at AFP and Apra meetings and conferences. The demand for clear instruction that can be applied immediately at the fundraising office led me to launch the Prospect Research Institute. I’m excited to learn with you!

This On-Demand Course Series is included in the Research Focused Membership Level.

Upgrade to Membership for More

  • $1,500.00 / year

    $1,500.00 / yearResearch Focused

    A membership community for Research professionals.
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  • $150.00 / month

    $150.00 / monthResearch Focused

    A monthly membership community for Research professionals.
    Join Now

Content Review Panel Experts

These are the individuals who generously volunteered their time to ensure the course content is comprehensive, accurate, clear, and interesting:

  • Steffanie Brown, Manager for Prospect Research & Development Services at Florida Institute of Technology
  • Jennifer Falcon, Director of Research and Prospect Management at Saint Joseph’s University
  • Sabine Schuller, Senior Research Specialist at Rotary International