I recently had coffee with my friend, Maria Semple who is a brilliant strategist and consultant.
Read her fascinating post on why your library card can bring you big profits.
Then visit her website and find a way to bring her into your organization to work with your teams.
By Maria Semple, The Prospect Finder LLC
If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, you may not be aware of the plethora of resources available to help your nonprofit’s prospecting efforts. Many of those resources are online, and your library card is your gateway to many expensive databases….at no cost to you! And, aren’t we all looking for ways to grow our organizations that won’t cost us a fortune?
First….if you don’t have a card, you can find your local library’s website by visiting www.publiclibraries.com. If you find your community library doesn’t offer the databases you’re seeking, you may find that the state level does indeed offer you access via their portal, “Jersey Clicks” (www.jerseyclicks.org). So, no more excuses…..it’s time to get your own card and max out the value of that bar code on the back!
What can you access with your card?
- ReferenceUSA enables you to search for business contacts within the industries or geographic regions of interest to you. If business contacts are important for your nonprofit in terms of potential funders or Board members, then you’ll definitely want to access this resource. The ReferenceUSA database contains detailed information on more than 14 million US businesses, 210 million US residents, 855,000 US health care providers, 1.5 million Canadian businesses, and 12 million Canadian households.
- The Encyclopedia of Associations lists nationwide organizations you may want to target for networking events, education and speaking opportunities. Here you may find many allied professionals for cross-referral opportunities, too. Simply search by key word and a complete nationwide list appears with full contact information and website links. Via this website, you can see if there is a statewide affiliate that may be of interest to you.
- Newspapers and Magazines are archived through EBSCOhost, Infotrac, and Proquest. If you need to stay on top of certain industries or you’re about to embark on expansion into another market, then relevant news articles are a must.
If the databases you access don’t pull together the information you’re seeking, a reference librarian is usually waiting to help you 24/7. Many states provide you with the ability to engage a librarian in a live chat and a full transcript of this chat will be emailed to you with answers to your questions. In New York, this service is available through the NY Public Library website at www.nypl.org and I encourage you to check them out. (Look for ASK NYPL).
I’ve pulled together just a sampling of what you’ll access with your library card and I highly encourage you to find those resources that can help you sustain and grow your nonprofit. At a recent speaking engagement on this topic, one participant said “I had no idea that my dusty little library card was ‘gold’”. Finding gold in these economic times is indeed something we can all relate to. Happy Prospecting!!
Maria Semple is an experienced researcher, trainer and frequent speaker on the topic of prospect research. She is the author of an e-Book, "Panning for Gold: Find Your Best Donor Prospects Now!". This how-to manual contains over 75 resources for prospect research. The Prospect Finder LLC is based in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Maria may be reached at Maria@TheProspectFinder.com or by visiting http://www.TheProspectFinder.com.
Copyright ©2012 The Prospect Finder LLC. All R