How to choose a prospect research tool

Guide to Prospect Research and Wealth Screening For Modern Fundraisers

How Can Nonprofits Use Data for Prospect Research and Wealth Screening? 

Individuals with over $2 million in real estate holdings are 17X more likely to give philanthropically compared to the average person. In today’s data-driven fundraising world, insights are key to building strong relationships with prospective donors. Prospect research tools combined with wealth screening and fundraising intelligence is now standard practice for fundraisers who want a leg up on their advancement goals. 

As nonprofit organizations continue to cultivate more data and wealth insights on their prospective and current donors, proper analysis of this collected data allows fundraisers to spend their time focusing on building the right relationships that will advance their mission the furthest. Not every donor has equal potential and although every donor deserves a baseline level of focus, prioritizing efforts and providing specific donors with special attention will result in a greater overall fundraising result. Windfall Data shows that the top 5% of Americans by overall net worth account for over half of all political donations.

Would you rather knock on 5 doors or 95 doors to get 50% of the proverbial fundraising pie? 

What is the difference between Prospect Research and Wealth Screening? 


Wealth screening is simply a subset of prospect research. Wealth screening includes indicators like an individual’s capacity to give or overall net worth. Prospect research includes additional indicators like an individual’s propensity to give and their affinity towards particular causes. A successful fundraising process needs to include both types of indicators. Just because an individual has a high net worth does not necessarily mean they will give philanthropically. 

What is Propensity to Give, Capacity to Give, and Affinity? 


Not only does wealth screening help identify overall net worth and other assets but it should help you better understand the true motivations of a donor based on their historical behavior and demographic data. A comprehensive prospect research strategy needs to be based on all three indicators: Propensity to give, capacity to give, and affinity. 

  1. Propensity to give is defined as how likely someone is to give philanthropically. Whether a donor is high net worth or not, they can still have a high propensity to give if they feel an obligation to give philanthropically. 
  1. Capacity to give is measured by a donor’s ability to give. This is usually tied directly to net worth, assets, cash on hand, and other financial factors. A high-net-worth individual typically has a much higher capacity to give than an average person. 
  1. Affinity is defined as a donor’s preference towards your cause. A person with a history of donating to arts-based organizations could be said to have an affinity for the arts. 

Other Considerations for Prospect Research 

Accurate data is a huge problem in the prospect research world. Effective fundraising insights are completely dependent on accurate information. If a donor’s net worth is incorrectly assumed, it could lead to some awkward conversations down the road. 

Whether things like net worth are estimated based on zip codes (Someone could be a renter for example), or records simply become outdated, the accuracy of data is paramount to fundraising outcomes. 

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about collecting wealth data yourself or running a deep data analysis on your internal records because there are some exceptional products that have programmed all of this into their models. 

Which Prospect Research Tools Should I Choose? 

Windfall - Pricing, Reviews, Data & APIs | Datarade

Windfall Wealth Screening 

Windfall Data provides deterministic factors like tax returns and real estate holdings to provide a “precise net worth” rather than making assumptions based on things like zip codes. Windfall includes factors like propensity to give and capacity to give in their prioritization of contacts. 

Combined with internal data from a CRM or Fundraising Insights Tool like KIT, a donor’s affinity can also be included in modeling. Windfall boasts the most accurate data of any prospect research tools and they back up their claim with datasets that are rebuilt every single week. This ensures major events or changes in holdings are reflected in your contact records. This can help avoid embarrassing mistakes or prioritizing the wrong potential donors.

Windfall’s subscription provides unlimited screening to your constituents so there is no need to pay for extra credits or “pulls” as some platforms require. Unlimited screening means no barriers to running wealth screening and researching your entire database of historical donors. 

Notable Integrations: Bloomerang, Donor Perfect, KIT, Neon, Salesforce, Salsa, Tessitura. 

Price: $ $  

Key Differentiator: Data Accuracy is Windfall’s key differentiator. Windfall’s datasets are updated weekly to provide the most up to date information for prospect researchers. 

Wealth Engine

Using over 45 data sources, Wealth Engine has created unique profiles for over 250 million individuals for their clients to use in their prospect research. This broad dataset provides the backbone for Wealth Engine’s service to help organizations screen, prioritize, and identify possible donors. Wealth Engine also offers data modeling to help organizations identify more prospects and donors that fit within their “Ideal Donor Profile”.

Notable Integrations: Arreva, Charity Engine, Charity Proud, Clearview, Every Action, KIT, Neon, Salesforce, Salesforce, Tessitura.

Price: $

Key Differentiator: Wealth Engine’s Donor pyramid modeler can automate the arduous process of creating accurate donor segments to help formulate strategic fundraising plans. Wealth Engine also generates proprietary wealth scores and ratings to help identify, segment, and prioritize donors with the right attributes like total assets, net worth, cash on hand, propensity to give and many others.

Donor Search

Donor Search is unique because the platform and company is 100% focused on Philanthropy. Unlike other prospect research tools that are marketed towards luxury markets such as financial services or real estate, Donor Search is purely designed with fundraising in mind. Donor Search provides wealth screening for existing contacts as well as their “Prospect View” to find new prospects that match your criteria. Donor Search’s pricing is based on the number of “pulls” or the amount of contacts you screen.

Notable integrations: Arreva, Donor Perfect, Giveffect, Keela, Kindful, KIT, Neon, Salesforce, Salsa, Tessitura, Virtuous CRM.

Price: $

Key Differentiator: Donor Search can identify individuals based on giving to other organizations. Donor Search flags when people have given major gifts at each level and to which organizations. This can make major gifts prospecting significantly easier for fundraisers.



Iwave is one of the original prospect research tools and consequently has the largest market share of organizations using it. Iwave uses 3 main factors to rank prospects: Capacity, Affinity, and Propensity to give. It has options for wealth screening on individuals and it is the only powerful tool that can do comprehensive screening on companies and foundations. Iwave subscriptions also include search functionality for over 40 premium datasets to find insights like news, obituaries, real estate, and other key data points. IWave uses “credits” to allow users to pay depending on how many searches and screens they use. Iwave has focus areas on Healthcare, Arts & Culture, Faith Based Organizations, and Community Foundations. 

Notable Integrations: Salesforce, Tessitura, Neon, Raiser’s Edge NXT, Patron Manager, Cause View

Price: $

Key Differentiator: As one of the most established wealth screening and prospect research solutions, Iwave boasts award-winning client support and training. iWave is also the only solution to offer both US and Canadian comprehensive wealth screening data through their use of the Canada Revenue Agency’s datasets on Canadian Foundations and Public Charities. 


Prospect research and wealth screening tools should be a part of any professional fundraiser’s toolbox. Make sure to consider your organization’s existing technology stack to see which tools integrate with your current CRM and pick a provider that suits your fundraising style the best.

If you want to see how these tools work alongside KIT, you can Book a Demo today.

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