Welcome to the Research Rabbit Hole - a blog series exploring all the fun, random paths we end up on at work. Today's entry is from Joan Ogwumike, Prospect Research Associate at the Obama Foundation.
Can we unanimously agree that prospecting begets research rabbit holes? We all know what happens when you’re told, “I’m interested in X prospects with Y philanthropic interest, within 3.5 miles from the city that I will be visiting.” The prospecting project (affectionately regarded here as a math formula) equates to several hours of work, compiling a list and verifying the right prospects for outreach.
The wealth lists – 2021 Forbes 100 CEOs, Law 360’s Top Law Firms in the U.S., Top Tech Investors in New York – we are all familiar with them. We scour through them, and bookmark for “a quiet day.” How about the lists pulled from database reports, we can consider them mining expeditions. The typical prospecting process: you begin by intentionally carving out time to prospect, then the search per name via the web, begins. And, within moments, you suddenly switch to your 16th tab to open a research tool so you can find giving information, property, and hopefully a live email.
Let’s talk about emails. Actually, let’s not, because there is no need to remind a prospect researcher of how long it takes to find, and verify, an email address. My success stories include the many moments when I found an email address buried in a person’s personal website – the photographer who puts their contact information in very tiny font on a random sub-page; the tech developer who has a “contact me” link on their personal website, and when you hover over link the email address appears; or the entrepreneur who is a part-time rockstar and you happen to stumble onto the band’s website just to find the entrepreneur’s email to their current VC firm. Sometimes, research tools are a success with emails and prospecting projects, and other times, Google is the undefeated source on what is current and needed.
Well, as they say, it is all in a day’s work.