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Identifying Successful Competitive Intelligence Practices used in Nonprofits: A Survey of Competitive Intelligence Strategies Used by Professional Fundraisers to Enance Fundraising Success

Heidi H. Gillis
Major Professor: 
Kendra Albright
May 2005

Abstract: Competitive intelligence is a popular technique used to gain a competitive advantage in for-profit businesses. This research examines the use of competitive intelligence in nonprofits, particularly how competitive intelligence is used or can be used to enhance fundraising success. A web based survey polled members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on their uses of specific competitive intelligence strategies, particularly environmental scanning, use of focus groups and database research. It was found that non-profits are using some competitive intelligence methods, but find a lack of time, lack of funds, and lack of staff are prohibiting factors in implementing a full-scale competitive intelligence process. Those who have implemented some competitive intelligence methods have found them to result in increased fundraising success, particularly with increased prospect identification, improved targeted asks (direct solicitations of donors), and an overall increase in donations.