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How to identify the best donor prospects in LGL

Updated February 21, 2022 by Timi Paccioretti

identify best donor prospects in database

Article updated on February 21, 2022

When you’re getting ready to plan your next fundraising appeal, be sure to use the information you’ve been gathering in your donor management system throughout the year to identify some good donor prospects.

In this article, we’ll share ideas on how to pinpoint who your best donor prospects are as well as offer some examples of searches you can do in Little Green Light to pull your prospect lists.

To begin, let’s talk about the 3 basic groups of donor prospects that most likely exist in your database: Active Donors, Lapsed Donors, and Non Donors.

Sorting your donor prospects by giving status

LGL Tip #1:

LGL automatically adds one of three Giving Status tags to each of your constituent records, based on the gift information entered into the record. It is easy to identify those donor segments by using the filters on the All constituents page:

Giving statuses in LGL


LGL Tip #2:

The default definition of an active donor is someone who’s made a gift in the past 18 months (but you can edit that timeframe to suit your needs in Settings > Subscription settings > Gift settings).

Which group of donor prospects should you focus on?

In our article, Can you raise more money by segmenting your database, we share that on average, nonprofit organizations have a 60-70% chance of retaining the donors they already have, a 20-40% chance of recapturing lost donors, and a less than 2% chance of acquiring a gift from a new prospect.

We recommend using a segmented approach to your appeal, which allows you to focus your efforts on those who are most likely to support your organization. (Hint: Your active donors!)

But, should all your active donors be sent the same request for support this year? The simple answer is no, they should not. If you personalize your solicitation letters with information you have captured in your Little Green Light database about those donors and their gifts, then your ask will have a greater impact on your donor and, hopefully, encourage them to give again.

Using the Donor Retention widget to find donor prospects

The Donor Retention widget on your LGL Dashboard is the perfect place to start. In this handy widget, LGL already breaks out your active donors by 3 important categories: First-time Donors, Consecutive year donors, and Recaptured donors. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Donor Retention widget on LGL Dashboard Image: Donor Retention widget on the LGL Dashboard


First-time donors

New donors are key to a growing fundraising effort, so it’s important to make sure you are doing all you can to welcome them when they first give, and then be purposeful in how you reach out to them for their next gift. Recognizing that they are a new donor in your solicitation and sharing the benefits of their gift will be a key strategy in retaining them.

Click on the number to the right of First-time donors in the widget to see a list of those constituents and the search criteria used to generate the results:

First time donor search criteria in Little Green Light   Image: First time donor search criteria in Little Green Light


Consecutive-year donors

A donor who has given to your organization year over year is a great segment to focus on. They are loyal to your organization and obviously believe in your mission. Be sure to let them know how important their continued support is to your nonprofit when you make your next ask.

Click on the number to the right of Consecutive year donors in the widget to see a list of those constituents and the search criteria used to generate those results:

Consecutive year giving search criteria in Little Green Light  Image: Consecutive-year giving search criteria in Little Green Light


Recaptured donors

This is an important group to consider as well. These donors gave 2 or more years ago, lapsed last year, and then returned this year to give another gift. If you know what motivated them to give, be sure you make use of that information in your next solicitation letter.

Click on the number to the right of Recaptured donors in the widget to see a list of those constituents and the search criteria used to generate the results:

Recaptured donors search criteria in Little Green LightImage: Recaptured donors search criteria in Little Green Light

LGL Tip #3:

If the widget is not showing on your Dashboard, just click the Customize Dashboard button to enable it.

Looking for some major donor prospects in your active donor list? 

Narrow your active donor list to include only those who have given $1,000 or more to your organization. That search would look like this:

 Active donor search who have given $1,000 or more  Image: Active donor search on those who have given $1,000 or more

Working with lapsed donors and nondonors

Focusing on active donors is an important strategy in your appeal solicitation, but that does not mean you should ignore your lapsed donors or nondonors. Be sure that you personalize your approach with them as well.

Consider using some of these great tips on how to re-engage your lapsed donors, and check out how to identify people at your organization who haven’t yet given but might be great prospects.

Event attendees who haven’t made a gift yet could be a good nondonor segment to consider. You can look for these donor prospects using the following search:

LGL Search for event attendees who have not yet donated   Image: LGL search for event attendees who have not yet donated


As you plan or work on your next fundraising appeal, we hope this article provides some useful ideas for how Little Green Light can help you easily identify and create lists of good donor prospects.

2 thoughts on “How to identify the best donor prospects in LGL

  1. Once again, LGL has provided clear, well written and pertinent advice and guidance. As usual, I am finding that I have been working way too hard on searches!
    I think there may be one mistake in this article, however. In your description of how to identify donors of $1000 or more, you have set it up to find those who have given a total amount of $1000 or more. Because we have 20 years of giving history in our database, we have a lot of people in that category who only give 50 or $100 a year.
    Thank you LGL team! You rock.

    1. Hi Alida,

      Thanks for your comments! We are glad that you find our articles useful! In our example, we were looking for anyone who had given $1000 or more in their lifetime, but it is possible to limit that search by adding a date range limit if you prefer!


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