“High-Worth” Prospecting

Dear Kim,

My organization is interested in doing some prospecting for high worth individuals. Where can we obtain a list or is there a different process you recommend?
—They Have It and We Need It

Dear Need It,

There are a number of sites to find information on high worth individuals and here are just a few:

(I am grateful to Michel Hudson, a professional prospect researcher, for this information. Her article, “Prospect Research for Grassroots Groups” can be found in the January/February 2002 issue of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.

The second part of your question deserves some air time also.

High worth individuals may or may not be donors. If they are donors, they may or may not be interested in your organization. So, even if you compile a thorough list of 500 rich people, you will have no more money than you have now. If you approach them all, you may get some gifts, but I am not sure it will be worth the work. I would start with who you know, regardless of their wealth. Go to people you know who you also know believe in what you do. Ask them to give, and ask them who they know who might give. This will get you more donations from the beginning and you will eventually meet people who care about your cause and can make large gifts. Fundraising is all about relationships.

Good luck to you.
—Kim