Apra Reviews: ‘Precision Prospect Development,’ by Nathan Fay

Review by Andrea Heitz, Senior Advancement Research Officer, Texas Christian University

What We’re Reviewing: “Precision Prospect Development: How to Get a Seat at the Table and Be an Influencer. A Practical Guide to Achieving Success,” by Nathan Fay (2019)

How We Learned About It: Nathan was a speaker at aasp Summit last year and his talk was based on Chapter 20 of this book, “Focus on the Bottom Line: Prospect Development as Revenue Generator.” The session focused on prospect development professionals bringing actual, monetary value to the table, and the importance of understanding ourselves as fundraisers and not just as support people.

Where You Can Find It: Amazon and other book retailers

Summary: Written in 66 small chapters, mostly one topic per chapter, this book varies from generalized big ideas for prospect development to specific, detailed steps for decision-making. It leans more toward big ideas, which allows each reader to better use the data in individual situations.

Small, focused chapters make this book an ideal choice for reading a chapter a day to keep new ideas and solutions flowing. The overall theme is that prospect development, in which Fay includes all data management and analysis functions in fundraising, should be a major player in raising money. A second, equally important theme focuses on the value of individual and group integrity, and on the effort to be generally good human beings and not just good employees.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prospect development is a revenue generator, not a back room support unit. Prospect Development builds efficiency in discovery, streamlines and maintains pipeline flow, and allows more revenue to be generated per fundraiser. (Chapters 20-21)
  • Data isn’t just in our databases. Our organizations’ “current collective state(s)” can generate some of our most-relevant data points: What matters most to our organization? How do our people understand specific concepts? Generally the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of our specific organizations and teams. (Chapter 5)
  • The six elements of data, “who, what, when, where, why and how,” allow prospect development professionals to make precise choices and actions with both database-housed data and organizational data. (Chapter 28)
  • For me, some of the best takeaways from this book were general life principles: focusing on abundance rather than lack (Chapter 8); measuring the value of all tasks, not just the key ones (Chapter 23); and the relevance and worth of failure (Chapter 63).

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