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Databases can be a nightmare.

Especially if you don’t have one. Even more so if you don’t have an army of specialists to maintain it for you. Any way you slice it, corralling all the bits and pieces of information about your supporter base and prospect lists can be a pain.

But somehow, you do need to keep track of a few key pieces of information when you are getting started on a list of prospects to support you work. What is the bare minimum of information you want to be able to track in the beginning?

Their contact information.

You’ll want their first and last name, email address, their preferred mailing address (either their home or work), a telephone number and their spouse’s name, if they have one.

A little background.

A brief biography, a link of their website, their professional affiliations and their social media handles will give you a sense of who they are.

Any previous donations.

If they’ve donated to you before, you’ll want to know when and how much they donated. It can also be helpful to note any other organizations they support.

Their interest in your work.

If they’ve expressed a specific interest in your work, note what that is. It will give you better direction in your outreach to them.

Their communications preferences.

How do they prefer being contacted? By email only, a particular phone number, not at all? If you know, make a note of the best way to reach them as they see it.

Once you’ve gotten a few basics down, then you can concentrate on the fun part – the 3 Thoughtful Stages of Donor Cultivation.

(And later on, you can bribe that army of specialists to enter all of this good stuff into your database for you.)

If this has been helpful to you, please consider making a donation! Your contribution is deeply appreciated and supports all of the free programming at Open Rivers.

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