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Mark Kordic
Advocace' Media

Who is the Best Donor Prospect for Your Station?




Back in the late 1980’s, I remember the daily perusing of area newspapers, business journals and annual reports searching for the next big gift giver to our radio station and college. Those were the B.C. days (before computers). We occasionally came across warm leads and pursued a relationship with the prospect through visits. A pile of manila folders were filled with news clippings and personal notes from meetings. It was a slow process but it was easier to build a long term, personal relationship with a substantial donor through this method than using direct mail, however personal that may look.

But today, by using various software and web-based tools, we’ve multiplied our ability to identify prospects and the most appropriate level of ask. Authors Peter Wylie and David Lawson offer abbreviated steps we’ve used to brainstorm a good list of major donor prospects in the book, Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online:

  1. Isolating High-Ability Prospects: Use a reputable vendor screening company to evaluate your donor list using standard wealth indicator measures such as real estate holdings, employment history, and sizes of gifts to other nonprofit organizations. You will receive a list of those friends who have the ability to make a large gift. You can identify these high capacity donors using a variety of public records sites online but this involves substantially more staff or volunteer time.
  2. Isolating Prospects with High-Attachment: Next we evaluate those donors with longevity and frequency in their giving patterns. Don’t you love analysis? You will also review lifetime giving amounts to add some quality names to your major donor prospect list.

3. Isolating Prospects with High-Affinity: Lastly, we want to identify characteristics which make
               the prospect a likely major donor prospect. Some stations look for a business phone attached to a
              donor record, whether a donor attended a station-sponsored event, and whether or not they are
              married. Your affinity variables may be a bit different.

Following these steps, narrow in on prospects who belong to all three groups. Then, follow the Apostle Paul’s example with the Corinthian church as he communicated the opportunity to give for a cause---the needs of the poor believers in Jerusalem (I Corinthians 16:1-4). As author Randy Alcorn points out in his book, Money, Possessions and Eternity, ---when you share specific needs, ask for response, and trust God for the results three people benefit: the giver, the recipient and God. The leadership involvement of these donors will motivate many others to get involved.

What is your experience in trying to identify likely major donor prospects for your station? Have you found it hard to get the research off the ground?

 E-mail Mark Kordic at


With 24 years of experience in corporate and non-profit leadership positions and almost a generation of experience in listener supported Christian radio, Mark Kordic helps radio stations across the country grow income from major donors and pledges.

Before joining Advocace, Mark was the Director of Media Advancement for CDR Radio Network-The PATH®, the media division of Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.  At The PATH® he successfully served in a number of marketing and executive positions, helping fund network expansion. Kordic also previously served as assistant pastor at Shawnee Hills Baptist Church in Jamestown, OH.







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