A Brief Description of the Prospect Development Profession

Prospect Development is the strategic arm of an organization’s fundraising operation, focusing on prospect pools and pipelines. Prospect Development professionals collaborate with gift officers and development leaders to ensure fundraising efforts are focused on working with the right donors for the right gifts at the right time (and, in many cases, with the right initiatives).

Prospect Development has evolved to include the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Prospect identification and research: discovering and evaluating prospective donors and their interests, relationships, inclination to give and philanthropic capacity to inform and support an organization’s fundraising strategies and outreach efforts
  • Relationship management: managing, tracking, and reporting on an organization’s activity with its constituent and prospect pools and making recommendations to influence fundraiser and campaign activity positively
  • Data analytics: supporting an information-driven decision culture by deriving conclusions and identifying trends through the statistical analysis of internal and external data

This evolution has been driven partly by advances in information management technology, data storage, trends in information availability, and an increased need for data-driven decision-making.

Prospect Development practitioners are guided by a code of ethics (outlined by Apra) that ensures all activities performed are legal, ethical and appropriate for their organizations.

Prospect Development professionals work in various organizations which fundraise, including colleges and universities, private schools, medical centers and hospitals, arts organizations, social organizations, environmental organizations and political organizations.

Approved on May 16th, 2014 by the Apra Board of Directors