Through donations and bequests, individual donors typically account for more than three-quarters of charitable giving each year. Nonprofit organizations rely on individual donors for consistent support.

To help you get started, Candid's webinar, Introduction to Individual Giving, will provide an overview of the fundraising landscape and walk you through the key components of an individual giving program.  Watch now:

It is a good idea to focus on the potential of individuals that are closest to your organization and its mission rather than approaching wealthy public figures. Most celebrities are inundated with requests for money, and they may have no connection to your nonprofit's mission or location.

Instead, build personal relationships with affluent and well-connected local community members. They are more likely to have a personal connection to and interest in your community, and therefore may be more inclined to donate and get involved in your cause.

The Candid video, Steps You Can Take Immediately to Diversify Your Board and Major Donor Base, will give you practical methods to building powerful relationships with diverse people who offer expertise, wealth, and influence.

One of the first steps in approaching potential donors is to find detailed information about them. This is also known as prospect research, and it involves networking, making contacts, and checking multiple sources.

Prospect worksheets for institutional and individual donors will help you capture the right information about funders whose priorities match those of your organization.

Yet researching individual philanthropists is somewhat difficult because, unlike foundations, they are not required to publicly disclose their financial and philanthropic activities. Some ways to learn about potential donors:

  • Search local media for stories about people who have prospered in their professions and are active in civic affairs and charitable causes. Your public library probably has databases to search many news sources at once.
  • Network with your prospect's acquaintances. This may yield valuable information, perhaps even an introduction.
  • Prospect research Web sites link to multiple online resources to learn about a person's giving potential and interests.
  • Some Candid partner locations subscribe to the following databases that can be helpful in prospect research (check your nearest location for availability):


    Dive in to this topic with the following Candid courses:

    •  Quick take! Learn how to tell your story online in order to connect with potential donors:


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