Your research library resources are going to depend on your constituencies. Are your donors and prospects within a specific city(ies) ? county(ies) ? statewide ? national ? Answering these questions will determine your scope and help you determine the resources you’ll need to get the job done. Depending on your prospect, you might be able to uncover information from paper and hardcopy sources and not find very much on-line or on the Internet.


Research helps uncover the three "C’s" of fundraising: Capacity, Caring, and Connections

Capacity: finding wealth indicators and assets that are public information

Caring: finding information that indicates a prospect’s giving interests

Connections: finding who else your prospect knows in order to broaden your prospect pool

Traditional Research Resources

# 1 Resource -- Bentz Whaley Flessner Bibliography: Resources for Prospect Development

This resource book can be purchased from Bentz Whaley Flessner for about $10 (612) 921 – 0111 This bibliography is a kind of "how-to" guide that lists a lot of sources, both hardcopy and electronic, that will aid in the search and collection of information on your donors and prospects.

Sections in the bibliography include: prospecting services, general references for prospecting , fundraising software systems, gift regulations resources, on-line services, Internet sites, listservs, salary resources, property holdings resources, public records, and offices of public charities. Citations include a brief description of the resource, contact information and pricing information.

Biographical Information

Biographical information should always be the first place to start, since it will provide clues and leads to other possible information sources. You might have access to some biographical information from your institution’s patient or constituent database, such as: social security number, business information (title, company name), birthdate, etc…

Who’s Who directories – Who’s Who in Business & Finance, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Technology, Who’s Who Among Women, Who’s Who Among Asian Americans, Who’s Who Among Hispanic Americans, Who’s Who Among African Americans

Directory of Medical Specialists -- indexed by specialty within state

Social directories -- Los Angeles Blue Book, National Social Register


Local newspapers – Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union, Orange County Register, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury

Local business journals / business magazines (great resource ! It will usually list and rank the top businesses in the area) -- Los Angeles Business Journal, San Diego Business Journal, San Francisco Business Journal, Seattle Business Journal

Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Red Herring

Business / Corporate Information

Southern California Business Directory (Database Publishers)

Northern California Business Directory (Database Publishers)

Hoover’s Directories (great one-page corporate profiles)

National Directory of Corporate Giving (Foundation Center)

International Directory of Company Histories (St. James Press)

Notable Corporate Chronologies

Foundation Information

Foundation Directory (Foundation Center)

Foundation 1000 (Foundation Center)

Directory of Emerging Foundations (Foundation Center)

Guide to California Foundations (213) 489 – 7307

National Guide to Funding in Health (Foundation Center)

Directory of Biomedical & Healthcare Grants (ORYX Press 602/265 – 2651)

On-line and Internet Research Resources

The great Internet debate: Free vs Fee-based (pay-per-view) resources

Free is always better! However, sometimes you might have to pay for information. You have to weigh the benefits against the cost of the information. Example: If you think that you can get $100,000 from a prospect, but need some information from a Dun & Bradstreet report worth about $40 - $50, it is probably worth the expense.

Mega Research Sites

This websites have a lot of free wonderful sources and are updated very often.

If you have a name or names, you can check multiple sources very quickly.

NETSOURCE -- on the USC website. This is a great place to start !

University of Virginia Prospect Research site --

Northwestern University Prospect Research Home Page http://pubweb/

Princeton University Development Research Links

David Lamb’s Prospect Research Page --

Gary Price’s List of Lists –

MEL (Michigan Electronic Library) --

Free Internet Sites


Medical / Medicine-related sites

AMA Physician Select:

Medical Board of California:

Administrators in Medicine (AIM):

Physicians Search Group:

American Board of Medical Specialties:


National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Business / Corporate Information

American Corporations:

[This site is part of the Georgetown University Library site and is very comprehensive]

U.S. Private Companies:

[This is a very good site for private company information. You can search by sector and state. It gives a lot of good links, including free and fee-based sites.]

CEO Meter:

[lists and ranks CEO’s stock holdings on a daily basis. Watch them move around !]


[This site is a business guide to 42,676 companies with over 197 categories]

Wealthy Zip Codes:

[This site is a good reference point to cull down your database and can be used to target certain zip codes for mailings and solicitations]


[high-tech company directory; you can search by company name or executive name]

Merger Stat:

[This site monitors corporate mergers and acquisitions]

Business Journals:

[This site is a great resource for business journals all over the United States]

Foundation and Charitable Trust Information

GuideStar: This site is a free searchable database with over

640,000 non-profit organizations in the United States. Free 990’s that are updated regularly.

California Registry of Charitable Trusts:

Foundation Center:

Exempt Organizations of the IRS:

Fee-based On-line and Internet Sources (pay-per-view)

Lexis-Nexis -- newspapers, journals and periodicals

-- Secretary of State filings for numerous states (incorporation files, DBA files)

-- County Assessor’s filings for numerous states

Dun & Bradtreet -- web-based service that provides financial and corporate information on public

and private companies. The best source for information on small, private companies with sales

over $1 M.

PRO (Prospect Research On-line) -- web-based service that provides detailed profiles on American

and Canadian companies and foundations. Can search by executives and also key words. Also

has section for special interest groups: cancer, AIDS, social service, etc… The site is constantly

updated and is a great resource for quick, complete information. An annual subscription

is about $1,500.

Thompson Financial Services -- web-based resource to obtain insider stock holdings information

including stock options, one of the hot new trends to monitor for potential wealth.

Standard & Poor’s Register -- CD-Rom product that allows you to search by company name, executive

name and other data elements. Contains company information and executive biographies.

Dow Jones Interactive -- web-based service providing newspapers, journals and periodicals

Directory of Corporate Affiliations -- CD-Rom product that shows corporate structures – parent

companies, subsidiary companies, divisions and branches. Can search on many things: company name, corporate

title/position, SIC code, etc…

Target America -- web-based database that identifies the top 5% of the wealthiest, most generous people

in the United States. You can also screen names electronically. $500 annual subscription.

FC Search (Foundation Center) -- Cd-Rom product that is the Foundation Directory data in an electronic

format. Allows you to search by foundation name, assets, geographic region, trustee name, and giving interests.


1. Your competition’s webite(s)

Bookmark other hospitals and medical centers’ websites and homepages and monitor them periodically for news, major gift announcements and ideas on web design and structure.

2. Any local charitable organizations and non-profits

Periodically monitoring these websites can provide information on donors and volunteers and other key individuals within the area.