One of the most basic elements of the fundraising process, but the most important, is calculating the wealth of a potential donor. Why you ask? For one, it will help identify if your prospect may be a major gift donor. If so, this will determine who in your organization the prospect should be assigned to and the engagement strategy needed to lead to that major gift. Secondly, armed with this knowledge, you will be able to determine the appropriate level of the ask. As a development officer, the key to all of this discovery can be revealed by simply asking the right questions. Here they are:


What part of Chicago do you live in? (This will reveal if they live in an affluent neighborhood)

Are you going on vacation anytime soon? (This will reveal if they have a vacation home)

What hobbies do you have? (This will reveal assets they have and ways they spend money)

When do you plan to retire? (This will reveal a lot of about their financial situation)

Where did you grow-up? (This will reveal details about their childhood and parents potential wealth)


Do you serve on any boards? (Boards typically expect philanthropic gifts and reveal their values) Which ones and how did you get involved?

What does volunteering/service look like for you? (This will get at volunteer positions and the philanthropic priorities they might have)


How old are your children and where do they go to school? (This will reveal if the kids are private vs public for K-12 ages) How are your children handling school during the pandemic?

What do your kids do now? (This will reveal if their kids are self sufficient or the parents are supporting them)

What’s been your experience as a parent of a student at that school? Do you believe you’re receiving a best value for the education? (This will reveal if they’re paying tuition for the education)

What does your spouse do professionally? (This will reveal the spouse income)

What do you and your spouse for fun (To find out more hobbies)

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