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Prospecting: Introduction

(Using free Internet resources and library electronic databases)

Prospecting is: The process of looking for information about people, places, and/or things that have the potential to impact an organization's funding streams.
When doing research on an individual you begin by looking for any information that you can find and then try to build on what you have found. Try looking for information in the categories listed below then use the information that you find to find out more.


Conducting a simple name search can often result in increasing your information about a person. Biographies and news article often provide information about an individual's family (including spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, associates, etc), relevant dates, education, civic interests, business history, and giving history.

ZoomInfo (in Lexis/Nexis Library ExpressDatabase): (Must have a library card to log-in)
Search by executive or company name.
America's Obituaries & Death Notices
Often contain relevant dates, interests, and relationships.
Library Database (Must have a library card to use):
This database has access to the St. Louis Post Dispatch 1988 – present.

Biography in Context: 
Library Database:
Biography in Context has access to Marquis Who’s Who 1985 – present


The information gained by conducting personal property searches is often used as a factor in determining an individual’s giving potential. In addition, this information often includes the names of spouses and other family members.

Property Assessment Databases
Search by name or home address to see how much the property is worth.
https://lookups.sccmo.org/assessor (St. Charles County)
http://stlouis-mo.gov/data/address-search/index.cfm (St. Louis City)
http://revenue.stlouisco.com/ias/ (St. Louis County)
http://www.netronline.com (National search for Assessor's Databases)

Google Maps
To get a visual feel for the neighborhood try using:


Many professional organizations provide relevant information about a person's education, professional associations, interests, as well as home addresses.
Professionals registered with the American Dental Association
Official Missouri Bar Lawyer Search
Findlaw.com - gives biographical information
Professional Registrar (Missouri Only)
CPA's, Tattoo Artists, anyone who needs a license in the state of Missouri

Place of Work / Corporate / Company Info

Researching a person’s place of employment will often provide a lead to a greater understanding of the person’s giving potential (either personally or through his/her company) as well as an increased knowledge of the individual business relationships.

Secretary of State Database
http://www.statelocalgov.net/50states-secretary-state.cfm (National)
http://www.sos.mo.gov/BusinessEntity/soskb/csearch.asp (Missouri)
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/business_services/corp.html (Illinois)

Library Database
ReferenceUSA provides access to information about companies .


Note: Public companies have to disclose salaries and compensation of its top officers, all of this information is located in the company's proxy statements that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"DEF-14A" (proxy statements): Proxy statements are VERY long, you can  download the proxy statements in rich text format (.rtf), from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission                                   

Yahoo Finance

Political Activities:

This type of research is useful in determining a person's interests as well as gauging his/her giving capacity.  You can search by a person's name or company name.

Federal Election Commission:
Search by Executive name and/or business name.
OpenSecrets.org: Type zip code into search box to find top political contributors by zip code and other information.
Missouri Ethics Commission
Find contribution filings for local Missouri Candidates.

General News and Community Activities

Local Newspapers often have the most valuable information about a person's and/or business' community activities and relationships.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch
http://www.stltoday.com/ (STLtoday)
** Also Available: Library Database
St. Louis Business Journals
Bizjournal: Search business journals of many major cities.
**Also Available: Library Database
ProQuest has access to the St. Louis Business Journal
1999 – 2004.