Prospect Research for Fundraising in China

China is home to one of the largest populations of high-net-worth individuals in the world. The 2012 World Ultra Wealth Report by Wealth-X indicates China’s ultra-high net worth population stands at 11,245, with a collective wealth of US$1,580billion.

A number of international gifts from China have attracted substantial publicity, and provoked a variety of responses. While Lei Zhang’s US$8,888,888 donation to Yale University raised questions around why he had donated to an American university rather than a leading university in China, Dr Chau Chak Wing’s 2010 gift of AU$25million to the University of Technology Sydney received positive attention in the Australian media.

Universities in the United States, and to some extent in Britain, Canada, and Australia, undertake comprehensive research on alumni and other prospective donors to assess their major gift potential when developing cultivation and solicitation strategies. In response to western universities growing interest in capitalising on China’s substantial wealth, this paper looks at the possibilities of prospect research for university fundraising in China. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the tools currently available to assist international researchers prepare and compile individual prospect profiles. In addition, the report highlights a number of strategies to locate Chinese alumni of British, North American and Australian universities once they have returned to China.

Part One of the report identifies the tools that are most beneficial in conducting prospect research in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It identifies a variety of sources including internet, printed media, government bureaus, and social organisations.

Part Two of the report provides a list of resources to help track alumni who have previously studied in the UK, North America and Australia.

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