Prospect Clearance

Effective Date:
Last Updated: 07/01/2013

Presidential Prospects

Certain individuals, corporations and foundations are coordinated at the level of the President and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. These prospects/donors are identified in the clearance system. Contacts are managed at this level due to multiple areas of campus interest, to help ensure the highest level gift possible for the University and to provide a unified approach to solicitation. The Senior Director for Principal and Major Gifts should be contacted in the event of interest in an individual assigned at this level, while the Executive Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations is the appropriate contact for organizations.

Other Clearance Requests


Requests for clearance on all other prospects are submitted to Prospect Management. These are approved, usually in batches, by the Executive/Senior Directors and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.



Clearance Levels

The four main clearance levels are -


  • Suspect Clearance
  • Primary Clearance
  • Soliciting Clearance
  • Stewardship Clearance

Suspect Clearance is the least restrictive level of clearance assigned. Other Development Officers may contact and cultivate these prospects with notification to the cleared primary officer. Suspect Clearance represents a group of individuals believed to be major gift prospects for a particular area. These individuals may have never been contacted (other than via annual giving solicitations) and require a face-to-face visit to qualify them as appropriate prospects. Suspects are proactively identified through research efforts, Development Officer contact, or via screening sessions. Suspects are routinely assigned to Development Officers who make qualification contacts. The suspect list ensures that each Development Officer has a pool of potential prospects ready to be rotated on their primary clearance list.



Primary Clearance represents prospects currently under cultivation for a major gift solicitation. Other Development Officers may contact and cultivate these prospects with permission of the cleared primary officer. Prospects in primary clearance may still receive annual giving solicitations, but requests for major support are cleared exclusively for the assigned Development Officer. If no progress has been made within the assignment period, primary clearance will be dropped - particularly if another Development Officer wishes to solicit the prospect. If progress is being made, clearance may be extended.

Soliciting Clearance is the most protective level of clearance allowed. This indicates a solicitation strategy or plan has been filed, and the solicitation is currently in progress. Under no circumstances should any Development Officer intentionally contact the prospect without approval of the assigned Development Officer. Soliciting clearance is monitored on a monthly basis to ensure appropriate progress is being made to close the gift. These efforts are recorded in the solicitation management system.

Stewardship Clearance is assigned after a major gift or commitment has been received. Other Development Officers are allowed to cultivate the donor with permission of the assigned Development Officer. These prospects are routinely included in annual giving solicitations.

Prospect Resolution - If two or more Development Officers or units wish to approach a prospect within the same time frame, the Development Officers are expected to discuss and resolve the conflict. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the question will then be considered by the appropriate Senior Development Directors. Failing satisfactory resolution, further appeals can be made to the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, and ultimately to the President of the University.



Clearances generally are assigned to Development Officers for a six-month period. Development officers may move prospects between various stages of clearance at any time by formal request. Clearances may be renewed or reassigned based on qualification findings, donor intent, university priority, and/or as clearances expire.