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.S19.1 Melissa Bank Stepno, Ali R. McLane Online 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Central time Wednesday, April 24, 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Melissa Bank Stepno, Ali R. McLane
FORMAT: Online
SCHEDULE: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Central time
START DATE: Apr. 24, 2019

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 has been a fundraising operations consultant for more than 20 years, specializing in prospect screening development, analysis and implementation. As one of the original owners of Prospect Information Network’s P!N, the screening product that ultimately became ResearchPoint, Ms. McLane developed the first comprehensive vetting and implementation program for screening results, working with more than 500 clients. Prospect Information Network was ultimately acquired by Blackbaud in 2008. 

In 2017, Ms. McLane joined Lois L Lindauer Searches, an executive recruiting firm specializing in the Advancement industry. Prior to LLLS. Ms. McLane worked at consulting firms like Bentz Whaley Flessner and Dini Partners, as well as higher education, University of Houston, University of Tulsa and Texas Tech University and Health Science Center.

Ms. McLane is the co-chair of the Fundraising Operations certification program at Rice University’s Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, teaching the Prospect Research and Donor Relations classes, while also serving as a mentor to the students working toward the certification. She is also an instructor at Austin Community College’s Center for Nonprofit Management.

Ms. McLane is a co-founder, past president, and board member of the Southwest Chapter of the Association of Professional Researchers (APRA). She is a 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 online education committee. She is a frequent conference presenter, including APRA, AFP, CASE, AHP and specialized fundraising organizations.

Ali holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications studies from Texas Tech University. She is an active member of the Texas Tech University College of Media and Communication Advisory Board.

Term: Spring/Summer 2019

Start Date: Apr. 24, 2019

End Date: Apr. 25, 2019

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

Length: One Wednesday and one Thursday

Fee: $285

For AFP, APRA and AASP Members: $242

CEUs: 0.8

CFRE: 8 points

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