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The Magic of Major Gift Fairy Dust

The Magic of Major Gift Fairy Dust

November 16, 2022

“A lot of organizations aren’t clear on what a best prospect or a major gift prospect is. And once you define that, using some kind of formula or lens or matrix through which to examine your donors or your prospects, magically, they appear; you can identify them.”

Jennifer Filla

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Lighthouse Counsel President Jeff Jowdy speaks with  Jennifer Filla, president and founder of Aspire Research Group, about the magic that makes for successful major gift fundraising.

Jeff and Jenn discuss what Jennifer calls the magic of major gift fundraising and talk about issues including:

  • What major gift fairy dust is and why it’s something any organization or major gift officer can conjure
  • How to define and find best prospects
  • The difference between net worth and capacity and why it matters

About our Guest

Jennifer Filla is a resourceful fundraiser with an innovative focus on prospect development. She founded Aspire Research Group LLC to assist organizations throughout the country that are concerned about finding the right prospects, worried about what size gift to ask for or are struggling to meet major gift goals.

After co-authoring the popular book, “Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook,” with research veteran Helen Brown, Jen was inspired by the feedback. The fundraising industry was craving information about prospect research. In response, she founded the Prospect Research Institute, which offers the first-ever, online courses focused solely on fundraising research. 

A long time ago in a far-away career, Jen got hooked on research as a legal secretary. She jumped into fundraising at the Delaware County Historical Society in Pennsylvania. She has worked in prospect research at The Devereux Foundation and in corporate and foundation relations and as a major gift officer at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital.

Deeply committed to advancing philanthropy and the fundraising profession, she has served as a volunteer and trustee for numerous organizations over the years including The Center Foundation, The Mentor Center and Habitat for Humanity of Delaware County. She served as troop leader for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern PA for ten years.

Jen is a member of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn
ChatBytes with Jeff Jowdy