Wealth Screening 101: What Nonprofits Need to Know

The article’s title, “Wealth Screening 101: What Nonprofits Need to Know,” beside someone using a magnifying glass on a piece of paper.

Your nonprofit engages in many fundraising activities to generate the revenue you need to further your mission. With so many opportunities out there—from securing major gifts to starting a membership program—it can be challenging to figure out how your team can best focus its efforts to maximize results. That’s where wealth screening comes into play.

According to Altrata, ultra-high-net-worth individuals now account for 38% of all individual giving around the world. This means that it’s more important than ever for your nonprofit to focus on building relationships with donors, or as Convergent Nonprofit Solutions refers to them, investors who have both the passion and the means to support your mission for the long term.

Your investors all have varying giving capabilities, motivations, and levels of interest in your nonprofit’s cause. By conducting wealth screening, you can leverage your data to hone in on the most promising prospects and investors to pursue. Let’s explore the basics you need to know to get started with this valuable process.

What is wealth screening for nonprofits?

Wealth screening involves examining the investors and prospects in your nonprofit’s database for financial information that indicates a high capacity for giving. Typically, you’ll keep an eye out for data on:

  • Employment. Knowing where your supporters work and what they do is useful for tapping into corporate philanthropy opportunities such as matching gift programs. In addition, based on a prospect’s profession, you may be able to estimate their salary and disposable income.
  • Real estate ownership. Possessing high-value properties can be a strong indicator of a prospect’s high net worth. Plus, the type of properties owned can provide clues into the type of lifestyle an individual has, including whether or not they may have the financial resources to become a major contributor to your nonprofit.
  • Stock holdings. Owning stocks is another sign of wealth that your nonprofit should pay attention to. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has records on publicly traded companies, making it an easy starting point for finding out more about your prospects’ assets. Based on this information, you can even decide to accept major gifts of stock to provide more flexibility and convenience to investors.
  • Business connections. An individual’s business connections, including partnerships and board membership, can signal financial stability. If they’re involved with companies that are known to prioritize philanthropy, this can suggest that they’re philanthropically minded, too.

However, it’s important to note that investors need both a high giving capacity and an affinity for your cause to make major gifts to your nonprofit. That’s why it can be helpful to look at details such as past giving and previous volunteer service alongside your wealth screening results.

How can nonprofits benefit from wealth screening?

It’s no secret that nonprofits need to continually collect and evaluate data to improve their strategies and results. Through wealth screening, you can unlock data insights that allow you to:

  • Identify major prospects. While every nonprofit’s major gift threshold varies, looking for wealth indicators such as real estate ownership and stock holdings enables you to pinpoint prospects who are strong candidates for major giving. By understanding an individual’s ability to give, you can more confidently move forward with stewarding them as a potential major investor.
  • Improve resource allocation. The process of cultivating major investors requires time and care. Your major gift officers need to make regular phone calls, send event invitations, give facility tours, and more to bring these prospects closer to your mission. By narrowing down which individuals are most important to focus on, you can better allocate your resources to get the most out of the major gift fundraising process.
  • Personalize engagement. With a clearer picture of an investor’s wealth data, you can tailor your marketing messages and communicate more effectively with them. Let’s say that, based on the employment information you gathered about a prospect, you discovered that their employer offers a matching gift program. You can inspire them to give by highlighting how they have an opportunity to double the impact of their gift.

Ultimately, the insights you access through wealth screening empower your team to create more personalized, meaningful experiences for your investors. They’ll appreciate your attention to detail and start to feel like a true partner in your nonprofit’s mission.

What steps do nonprofits take to conduct wealth screening?

If you’ve never been through the wealth screening process before, you might be wondering how to start gathering and sifting through all of your investor data. According to Bloomerang’s donation page best practices, adding fields to your giving form is an easy way to collect investor information, such as their employer’s name.

Whatever shape your investor data is in, follow these steps to prepare your team for wealth screening:

1. Clean up your database.

Chances are, you already have built-out investor profiles within your nonprofit CRM (constituent relationship management) software. While you may have an abundance of email addresses,  engagement history details, and other information at your fingertips, taking the time to clean your database can enhance the accuracy of your wealth screening results. Start by:

  • Deleting duplicate information.
  • Removing lapsed supporters.
  • Updating outdated contact details.

To maintain neat records going forward, standardize data entry across your team and create an official document outlining guidelines, such as whether phone numbers should be entered as (123) 456-789 or 123-456-789.

2. Segment your investors.

By grouping your prospects into smaller categories, you can make the wealth screening process more manageable and effective. For example, you might segment them by their:

  • Giving history, including the size of their previous gifts.
  • Engagement level, such as past volunteering or peer-to-peer participation.
  • Place in the investor lifecycle, from acquisition to upgrade.

Then, you can conduct your wealth screening by segment, prioritizing the ones with the highest giving capacity and potential.

3. Research wealth screening services.

While it’s important for your nonprofit to embrace learning new strategies and processes, you don’t have to tackle wealth screening alone. A wealth screening service can:

  • Use models and analytics to generate a list of prospects to pursue.
  • Manually verify your top prospects’ information.
  • Provide support and staff training throughout the process.


By partnering with an experienced wealth screening service provider, your nonprofit can ensure that the process yields efficient, accurate results that you can act on. Plus, some CRMs come with built-in wealth screening tools. With these tools, you can automatically receive wealth ratings for each supporter in your database to streamline the process of identifying more high-potential prospects to connect with.

Modern technology has led to many new tools and software innovations that nonprofits can leverage to make their fundraising processes more streamlined and effective. By incorporating wealth screening into your outreach strategy, your organization can enhance its relationship-building with major prospects and work more tactically toward securing significant gifts to power your mission.

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