Glossary

Alphabet image glossary page

Here you will find a wide selection of words, phrases, and acronyms that are commonly used in prospect research. Use the Glossary to quickly and easily understand their meaning and use.

Some entries in the glossary may be familiar words used a particular way within prospect research whilst others may be more technical terms.

Word / Phrase / AcronymDefinitionRelated Chapters
AffinityThe strength of the connection between a prospect and an organisation or cause.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
Alternative Investment MarketThe Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that is designed to help smaller companies access investments from public investors (pension funds, members of the general public etc.). It has lighter regulation than the main exchange.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
AnalyticsThe process of collecting different types of fundraising data, looking for patterns and trends over time, and using these to inform decisions. Likely to be used to help find prospective supporters.New Researchers Guide
Anti-slavery legislationThe Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK) consolidating previous slavery and trafficking offences and introducing new civic orders to give more powers to the courts.Ethics policy & Procedure
Ask AmountThe amount which you anticipate you will ask a prospect for next. This is a data point that can be tracked on your CRM (see above) and used to predict the value of future fundraising income.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Asset ClassesAn asset class is a group of assets that share similar features. These assets are grouped together to distinguish them from other types of assets, often for the purposes of ensuring investments are diverse. Examples of different types of asset class include real estate, cash, shareholdings.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Belief SystemsThe principles which together inform and underpin systems of religion, philosophy, or codes of morals or ethicsEthics policy & Procedure
Big TechBig Tech companies refers to the largest companies in Silicon Valley, computer and digital giants such as Apple, Alphabet/Google and Meta (formerly Facebook).Strategic International Prospecting
Board of DirectorsThe governing body of a company, elected to represent the interests of shareholders and to hold the senior management of a company to account. All publicly listed companies must have one of these.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Boolean SearchBoolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
BPBest PracticeKey ethical behaviour
C SuiteThe senior executive team of a company; usually comprises of roles including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
CapacityHow much might a prospect be able to give philanthropically. This is often used to determine the level of the ask and is also known as giving capacity or philanthropic capacity.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
CapitalCapital is a broad term used to describe financial assets. It often covers assets such as funds held in a bank account, shareholdings in companies or investment funds, or borrowings (such as through credit cards or a mortgage).Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
CASECouncil for Advancement and Support of EducationNew Researchers Guide
CEOChief Executive OfficerNew Researchers Guide
CIOF / The Chartered InstituteChartered Institute of FundraisingNew Researchers Guide
Cold prospectAnd individual or organisation with no previous engagement with your organisation. May also be referred to as an external prospect.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Company FilingsCompany filings are documents that a company is legally required the file. The number and type of filings required usually vary depending on the size of the company, and will vary in different legal jurisdictions.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Constituents – trusts / foundations / individualsA term used by some organisations and by some databases/CRMs to refer to Individuals, corporations, foundations, and trusts that have an interest in the organisation. These constituents may be prospects or donors.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
CPDContinuing Professional DevelopmentKey ethical behaviour
CRMCustomer Relationship Management system or database; the means by which your organisation records, tracks and reports on its relationships with stakeholders.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
C-SuiteA widely used vernacular describing a cluster of an organisation's most important senior executives, many of whom have titles starting with a 'C' for 'Chief', such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and so on.Communicating Research Impactfully
Cultivation cycleA phrase used to describe the stages of a fundraising operation that establishes the activities and goals for each stage. One examples of a cultivation cycle is the 4 Rs: research, romance, request, recognition.Prospect Research Role
Data analyticsInvestigating the information you already hold using methods or models, in order to maximise its value.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
Data MiningThe act of looking for information within an existing data set. For example, searching your database in a systematic way to identify a particular type of individual or organisation such as individuals with a job title of Partner, who have donated and live in the UKProspect Research Role
Communicating Research Impactfully
Data modelling / Predictive modellingStudying past behaviour to enable to you to forecast future behaviour.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Descriptive analyticsTaking data and turning it into something business managers can visualize, understand, and interpret. Prospect Research Role
DivestmentA term meaning to reduce an asset of some kind for financial, political, or ethical reasons. The opposite of divestment is investment.Ethics policy & Procedure
Donation / GiftUsually financial support to an organisation, but may also refer to time, services, goods, or gifts in kind.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
Donations policyDonations policy refers to any of the documents that apply organisational ethics specifically to establishing what kinds of income are acceptable to the organisation.Ethics policy & Procedure
DonorsUsually individuals, trusts/foundations, institutions or companies that have financially supported an organisation, but may also refer to time, services or goods given. They can also be referred to as supporters in some organisations.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
DPAData Protection ActNew Researchers Guide
DPIAData Protection Impact AssessmentNew Researchers Guide
DSEDisplay Screen AssessmentNew Researchers Guide
Due DiligenceA decision-making procedure or process to enable an organisation to assess the risks of accepting a potential donation. Includes determining the identity of the donor and the provenance or origin of the funds. Risk may include potential conflicts with the values and aims of your organisation.Prospect Research Role
Communicating Research Impactfully
EBENEuropean Business Ethics NetworkKey ethical behaviour
EEAEuropean Economic AreaNew Researchers Guide
Entry level Prospect Research RoleTypically, this would be someone with less than 2 years’ experience as a prospect researcher and often recruited to more junior positions within the team with basic understanding of what is required.Prospect Research Role
EquityA term used to describe the value of a shareholding in a company, once any outstanding debt has been subtracted.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Ethical Risk AssessmentA risk assessment addressing a prospect, donor, or donation through the lens of an organisation’s ethical standardsEthics policy & Procedure
EthicsEthics are the set of moral principles which guide a person’s or institution’s behaviours and actions, often derived from common societal principlesEthics policy & Procedure
Ethics policyEthics policy refers to any of the documents an organisation may have that codifies broad organisational values.Ethics policy & Procedure
Feasibility studyA feasibility study is an exercise that helps determine whether your organisation has the capability to deliver a fundraising campaign. Often these studies will include an assessment of the ‘pipeline’ of anticipated major gifts for the organisation, and of the overall value held within prospect portfolios.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Freedom of Information requestsA request submitted under either the Freedom of Information Act (UK) or the Environmental Information Regulations (UK) to access any recorded information held by a public authority. This includes local councils, state schools, and government departments.Ethics policy & Procedure
Funds OnlineAn online reference source owned by the Directory of Social Change https://fundsonline.org.uk/New Researchers Guide
Gap AnalysisProcess of comparing an organisation's income with the income it would like to secure to understand how well the fundraising strategy is being achieved and identify where there are funding gaps.Prospect Finding and Qualification
Communicating Research Impactfully
GDPRThe General Data Protection Regulation which was implemented into UK law through the Data Protection Act of 2018.Prospect Research Role
Gift AcceptanceAt a basic level this means whether a charity or organisation accepts a gift from a would-be donor. More broadly this is the area of fundraising policy, procedure, and decision making governing the acceptance or rejection of donations, usually in light of ethical considerations regarding the donor. There are guidelines set by regulatory authorities such as the UK Charity Commission and UK Fundraising Regulator. Gift acceptance includes due diligence procedures.New Researchers Guide
Gift capacityQuantitative measure of ability to contribute a gift.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Gift Charts / Chart of Standards / Gift Pyramid / Gift TableA gift table (sometimes called a ‘Gift Pyramid’) is a tool used to show how many donors are needed at different levels of giving to achieve a desired fundraising target or goal. For example, you may wish to raise half of your £100,000 target by raising ten gifts of £5,000, and the remaining half by raising one £50,000 gift. These are often used when planning fundraising campaigns, for example as part of a feasibility study.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
HE (I)Higher Education (Institution)New Researchers Guide
Hedge FundA hedge fund is an investment vehicle often only open to a select group of investors. It applies riskier investment strategies on the basis of providing higher returns to investors, and charges higher fees for doing so.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
High net worth individual (HNWI)A term used to define an individual or group of individuals whose net worth exceeds a given amount. Who the term is applied to varies depending on the user.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
HNW (I)High Net Worth (Individual)New Researchers Guide
ICOInformation Commissioner's OfficeKey ethical behaviour
JDJob descriptionNew Researchers Guide
KPIKey Performance Indicator. A measurable value that enables an organisation to identify how effective and efficient they are.New Researchers Guide
LeadsMay also be referred to as suspects or prospects. Names of people or organisations that have been put forward as potential donors to the organisation.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
Legal RequirementAny action which is codified in law and which an individual and or institution must be adhered to in order to remain legally compliantEthics policy & Procedure
LIALegitimate Interest AssessmentNew Researchers Guide
Limited CompanyThe most common corporate structure in the UK for a private company that is not listed on a stock exchange. A limited company is one where shareholders have 'limited' liability; if the company fails, they can only lose what they put in.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)A corporate structure favoured by certain types of business due to its legal, regulatory and tax advantages.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
LiquidityA measure of the ease at which an asset can be converted into readily available cash, without its value being affected. Cash itself is the most liquid asset, whilst assets with low liquidity include real estate, fine art and collectibles.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Major DonorAn individual or organisation who has given over a specific amount in philanthropic donations either through one or cumulative gifts. The amount is set by your organisation and differs from organisation to organisation.Prospect Research Role
Mid-level Prospect ResearcherTypically, this person would have more than 2 years’ experience, but not have line management responsibilities.Prospect Research Role
Moves ManagementUsually used to refer to the development of the donor relationship from being a prospective donor through to making a one-off or regular gift, or from making a minor to a major donation. This process of moves includes cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.Data Impactfully
Network Maps / Relationship MapsUsed to show the links between prospects and/or donors and their relationships with your key stakeholders (senior executives, senior volunteers, and major donors) in your organisation with the aim to create strategic next steps in reaching out to the prospects.Communicating Research Impactfully
Network researchResearching the connections of senior volunteers (such as trustees), existing donors, warm prospects and other notable individuals connected to an organisation (e.g. academics, scientists etc.).Prospect Research Role
OGSM ModelA specific type of process for the creation of a strategic plan. The OGSM Model allows for the creation of an organisation's (or department's) Objectives, Goals, Strategy, and Measurement to meet the organisation's financial goals.Communicating Research Impactfully
PartnersRelationship between supporter and supported organisation; especially in relation to those with companies and people or organisations giving multi-year, high value gifts; alludes to the relationship not being merely financial, but a shared endeavour for mutual aims;New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
PECRPrivacy and Electronic Communications RegulationsNew Researchers Guide
Peer Review / Peer ScreeningA specific process whereby the prospect researcher and the fundraising team bring forward researched prospects for the senior leadership and/or senior volunteers to review, provide feedback, and perhaps become 'door openers' to get to the next step in solicitation.Communicating Research Impactfully
Philanthropic donationThe giving of money from a private individual or organisation for the purpose of public good and often motivated by wanting to address social issues.Ethics policy & Procedure
Philanthropic InterestsThe causes and/or organisations that an individual or organisation prefers to support.Prospect Research Role
PhilanthropistsSupporter of charities, educational or cultural institutions, usually through high value gifts usually motivated by a desire to improve social conditions and the welfare of others.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
PipelineCategorising and monitoring the stages through which potential donors move from identification through to gift giving. Includes identifying the current phase of the relationship with the donor and the next steps in further cultivating the relationship further. Often implemented through an organisation's database.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
PLCPublic Limited CompanyNew Researchers Guide
Pool Review/ Portfolio ReviewA process whereby a prospect researcher may work one-on-one or in a team meeting to review current fundraiser portfolios and provide strategic recommendations on prospect cultivation, or in some cases, removal of the prospect to allow for better qualified prospects.Communicating Research Impactfully
Potential SupporterAn alternative term for "prospect" preferred by some organisations.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Power BIA Microsoft product that can create powerful data visualisations by connecting to various data sources including spreadsheetsEthics policy & Procedure
PRProspect Research - ResearcherKey ethical behaviour
Predictive analytics Providing insights about likely future outcomes — forecasts, based on descriptive data but with added predictions using data science and often algorithms that make use of multiple data sets.Prospect Research Role
Principal GiftA philanthropic gift that is qualitatively higher than your organisations definition of a major gift, for example a 7 or 8 figure donation.Prospect Research Role
PrinciplesA set of rules forming standards of good ethical practice for an individual or institution, which may or may not be codified in writingEthics policy & Procedure
Private EquityPrivate equity is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies. Private equity firms are companies that manage these investments on behalf of investors, and charge fees for doing so.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
PRMProspect Relationship ManagementNew Researchers Guide
ProcedureProcedure covers the step by step processes established to apply organisational ethics to workplace activities.Ethics policy & Procedure
ProfileA written briefing on an individual and/or the organisation they represent. Typically used to provide a fundraiser with information on a prospect’s capacity, affinity and inclination in advance of a meeting.Prospect Research Role
Communicating Research Impactfully
PropensityInclination for philanthropic giving, often by examining donation history to your own and/or other organisations.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
Prospect / Potential SupporterSomeone regarded as likely to have the potential to give to your organisation.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Communicating Research Impactfully
New Researchers Guide
Prospect IdentificationThe act of researching individuals and organisations who have the potential to make a major gift to your organisationProspect Research Role
Prospect ManagementA process, often formalised, of overseeing and coordinating the prospect journey to ensure that prospects are either disqualified or continue to move forward through the pipeline to become a supporter.Communicating Research Impactfully
New Researchers Guide
The Prospect Research Role
Prospect Pool/PortfolioA set of prospects assigned to a fundraiser, who is responsible for managing their relationship with the organisationProspect Research Role
Publicly Listed CompanyA company that is listed on a stock exchange, so that it's issued shares can be bought and sold by the general public.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
QualificationA stage in the research process that serves to verify that a prospect is suitable for active cultivation by a fundraiser; this is done through reviewing factors such as capacity, affinity, propensity and your ability to contact the prospect. This can also be used to refer to a fundraiser’s initial stage of contact or engagement with a prospect, for example in a ‘qualification meeting’.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
Qualified ProspectSee also Prospect. An individual, company or foundation with sufficient capacity, affinity and propensity to make a major gift to your organisationProspect Research Role
Queries (within a database)Using certain criteria to create a list of people or entities who meet that criteria.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
RDPRemote desktop process or protocol. The ability for a user to work on and control a remote computer or device as if they were working on it locally.New Researchers Guide
Red linesA term that refers to individuals, industries, and organisations that have been ruled out as being ineligible to support the organisation often due to ethical incompatibilities or concerns about the risk of association.Ethics policy & Procedure
RegulationA regulation is a rule or set of rules, codified in writing, which is regulated (overseen) by a regulator organisationEthics policy & Procedure
Remuneration / CompensationPayment or other financial compensation awarded in return for work or services.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Remuneration CommitteeA committee formed of members of the board of directors, which makes decisions and sets rules around executive pay at the company.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
RiFResearchers in FundraisingNew Researchers Guide
Risk registerA structured way to capture information about risks and threats.Ethics policy & Procedure
ROIReturn on investment; the amount you get back in comparison to the amount spent to achieve the result.New Researchers Guide
Senior VolunteersAn individual at your organisation who is not a staff member but assists the organisation in a significant way, for example a trustee, committee member or a member of a board.Prospect Research Role
Communicating Research Impactfully
Seven Stages of SolicitationAlso known as a the cultivation cycle. A well known series of steps aimed at giving fundraisers the best chance of being successful with major donors. The phrase was coined by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI).
SIGSpecial Interest GroupNew Researchers Guide
Snap Shot Profiles / BriefsA shorter version of a profile which highlights a prospect's contact information, affinity, capacity, giving, and relevant information to take the fundraiser to the next step in solicitation. When staging research, a snap shot profile may be used in early stages and initial meetings with a prospect, where as a full profile may be used when getting ready for the ask and requires more in-depth research.Communicating Research Impactfully
Sole ResearcherSomeone who is individually responsible for prospect research in their organisation, whether that is 100% focused on prospect research or as one of a number of other responsibilities.Prospect Research Role
Solicit codesA special condition for communicating with a constituent. This is often at the request of the prospect, but could also be set by your organisation. For example, the donor may request not to be sent post.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
SQLStructured Query LanguageNew Researchers Guide
StewardshipIn fundraising, 'stewardship' comes after a donation is given and is the process of continuing a relationship with the donor to thank them, apprise them of what was done with their gift, and meet their 'memorandum of understanding'. Often focused on supporter satisfaction and preparing the ground for another donationCommunicating Research Impactfully
New Researchers Guide
Strategic PlanA process whereby an organisation defines its goals and the strategies needed to obtain those goals. Once created, a strategic plan provides a guideline/process to follow to make sure the organisation meets its goals.Communicating Research Impactfully
SupportersAn adherent to the values, work and mission of the charity or institution; often used to refer to those that have donated funds, time, goods or services, but may also include campaigners.New Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
SuspectsPerson or organisation you "suspect" could be high value supporter; an unqualified prospectNew Researchers Guide
Communicating Research Impactfully
T&CsTerms & ConditionsNew Researchers Guide
The 7 Steps of SolicitationProcess outlining the stages of securing a philanthropic gift, or rather, of securing a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with a supporter, including financial support. Usually starts with "identification" of a potential supporter and the final step is stewardship of a supporter;New Researchers Guide
TLAThree Letter Acronym (humour)New Researchers Guide
TrusteesSee Senior VolunteersCommunicating Research Impactfully
UHNWISometimes the term 'ultra high net worth individual' (UHNWI) is used to define an individual or group whose net worth exceeds a given amount beyond that of a regular HNWI. Usually this applies to individuals with a net worth in excess of £25 million.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
ValuesThe principles held by an individual or an institution which help them to make decisions about what is right or wrong, and how to respond to situationsEthics policy & Procedure
Venture CapitalVenture capital is a form of financing provided by individuals or firms who specialise in investing in early-stage or 'start up' companies. Venture capital investors usually expect a certain level of involvement in running companies they have invested in, i.e. a seat on the board.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Warm prospectMay be used to describe a prospect with whom an organisation has an existing relationship. Definitions may vary across organisations.Prospect Finding & Qualifications
WealthIn essence wealth means having assets of worth, such as money or other high value items. These assets need to exceed for value of any debts for an individual or organisation to be considered wealthy.Gift Capacity & Wealth Est
Wealth ScreeningThe act of reviewing, on a mass rather than a case by case basis, either a substantial proportion or the entirety of your database to ascertain which individuals have the capacity to make a major gift to your organisation.Prospect Research Role
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