Prospect Research and Analysis

Topics covered in this online course include a review of specific techniques to identify prospective donors and research strategies for individuals. 

man and woman discussing data and graph

Effective prospect research and analysis are essential to development professionals. Learn to interpret gift capacity and philanthropic interest indicators to shape fundraising strategies. A variety of research reports and distribution methods and deliverables are also discussed.

This course meets the prerequisite requirement for the Fundraising Operations Certificate and the elective requirement for the Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives (LINE) Certificate


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CPNL3055.S18.1 Melissa Bank Stepno, Ali R. McLane Online 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Central time Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Instructor: Melissa Bank Stepno

Job Title: Consulting Manager

Organization: Target Analytics

Degree(s): B.A.; masters’ degrees in arts administration and higher education administration

Melissa Bank Stepno is the consulting manager for Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud, Inc., where she is responsible for managing a team of consultants and consulting services related to strategic implementation of data analytics projects. Prior to assuming her current role in 2014, she served as a consultant at Target Analytics for nine years. Her areas of focus included the impact high net worth philanthropy on major giving programs and on helping organizations develop effective research and prospect management operations. Ms. Bank Stepno has also worked for both Boston University and Boston Ballet and has served on the boards of NEDRA, AFP’s Northern New England Chapter and Brandeis University’s Alumni Association. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and masters’ degrees in arts administration and higher education administration from Boston University.

Job Title: Chief Consultant

Organization: McLane Consulting

Degree(s): Bachelor's and master's degrees in communications studies

Ali R. McLane is currently the chief consultant of McLane Consulting since spring 2016. Before her transition, she was the director of prospect management and research at the University of Houston in April 2015, after spending 16 years as a prospect development consultant. Most recently she was a senior associate in the development operations practice of Bentz Whaley Flessner.  In her 16 years of consulting, including her ten years as a developer for Prospect Information Network (P!N), she has provided prospect development counsel to more than 600 clients representing every nonprofit sector.  Her areas of specialty include database management, prospect screening, identification, research and relationship management.  Ms. McLane is a leading innovator in applying software technologies and “back-room” strategies to advance the philanthropic agenda for nonprofits of all scopes and sizes. She is the chair of the fundraising operations certification program at Rice University Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, as well as, teaching the prospect research and donor relations classes and serves as a mentor to the students working toward the certification. Before her years as a prospect development consultant, she enjoyed a career at both public and private educational institutions.  She was a development researcher at Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and The University of Tulsa. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications studies from Texas Tech University. In 2015, she joined the Texas Tech University College of Media and Communication Advisory Board.  Ali is a co-founder, past president, and board member of the Southwest Chapter of the Association of Professional Researchers (APRA). Ali is past president of APRA of Greater Houston and is a charter member of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals, serving on their prospect development best practices committee. Ms. McLane is a volunteer with APRA International, serving on the 2010 Nominating committee and the 2011 APRA International Conference Curriculum Planning Committee, 2013 on-line education committee. She is a frequent conference presenter, including APRA, AFP, CASE, AHP and specialized fundraising organizations.

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

Start Date: Apr. 18, 2018

End Date: Apr. 19, 2018

Schedule: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Central time

Length: One Wednesday and one Thursday

Fee: $285

For AFP Members: $242

CEUs: 0.8

CFRE: 8 points

Note: This course meets the the prerequisite requirement for the Fundraising Operations Certificate and the elective requirement for the Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives (LINE) Certificate.

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