(Major Gifts #6) What’s the Best Structure for a Full-Scale Major Gift Program?

Everyone wants the secret to success for major gift fundraising. This series is sharing the top “secrets” you need to be successful with major donors.

Today we’re talking about two systems that you must, must have. Without them, you and your team are LOST when it comes to major gifts. You’ll be simply shooting from the hip, and guessing your way along.

You need these two tools to provide structure:

  • Your Prospect Portfolio List
  • A Monthly Prospect Review Meeting

We teach these two systems in our Major Gifts Roadmap 2020 Coaching program. We share our secrets to help you get your portfolios organized, focus on the right prospects, and win the hearts of major donors for your cause.

Registration for Major Gift Roadmap 2020 closes February 3rd, so don’t wait if you want to expand major gifts for your organization this year. Find out more here.

1. The Prospect Portfolio is Your Chief Organizing Tool 

This system maintains your master list of qualified major gift prospects. Listed here are the lovely donors who will receive your time and attention. A rating system helps evaluate and manage the donors in your portfolio.

Sets priorities:

The portfolio tool is critically important, because it helps you set priorities for your time. It’s the one place where you can see all your potential donors, so you can decide who needs current attention and who can wait. Your rating and ranking system of prospects helps you make decisions about who to focus on when.

Shows your pipeline:

A well-managed portfolio can show you, instantly, what your giving pipeline looks like. Here, right in front of you, is your assessment of your donors’ potential. You should also be able to tell how much money is really in play – who may be giving and when they may give.

It lays out a game plan:

The Prospect Portfolio chart lays out – in black and white, what you have to work with. When it’s up-do-date, you have a clear road map for the next 6-9 months.

This list is your entire upcoming body of work in major gifts. I love a prospect list, because it usually shows me what great potential I have to work with! What wonderful, lovely people to get to know!

2. The Monthly Prospect Review Meeting Organizes Your Progress

You can use a Monthly Prospect Review Meeting as a check-in to bring everyone together to re-focus, evaluate, re-strategize and set next steps with prospects. It’s a tool for keeping the wheels of your major gift program turning – everyone can get on the same page about next steps and key donors who need full-scale attention.

In your Monthly Prospect Review Meeting, you:

  1. Review your Portfolio List.

This is when you might add new names to the list. You also might remove donors who are no longer qualified – who for some reason or other, are not in a position to make a major gift anytime soon.

  1. Review all the actions or (moves) taken in the past month and the results achieved. 

It’s a chance to take account of your recent fundraising activities and take stock of new opportunities and information that you’ve uncovered in the past month.

  1. Evaluate where you stand with your major prospects.

Where are they in their cultivation process? When will they be ready to consider a gift? What has changed? What new information has risen lately? How do we need to proceed with each donor?

  1. Create next step strategies for EACH major prospect for the next month.
  1. Assign clear responsibility for the next step with each prospect. 

This way every person knows what his or her job is. (“I need to do what by when.”) You assign accountability.

What do you achieve with a Monthly Prospect Review Meeting?

You’ll create a management mechanism. Your team can track how many prospects are being cultivated, and what the workload looks like.

As a manager, you now have a structure and a format to make sure that your program is implemented and that staff takes action when they need to.

Use this structure to bring key people together to brainstorm strategy. I find that small groups of smart people are much more creative together on cultivation strategies than I can do by myself. There is power in the team.

Your structure also emphasizes accountability. You can be sure that before every monthly meeting, your staff (and volunteers if they are involved) will make sure they got done what they said they’d do.

Bottom line: Use these two tools to max out your major gift potential. 

These two tools – the rated Portfolio List and Monthly Prospect Review give a grounding and a consistency to your major gifts program – two vital “must haves” for any fundraising program.

And . . . registration for our Major Gifts Roadmap 10 -month coaching and training program is closing Feb. 3. We are filling up!

If you’d like a phone call with me to find out more, fill out the form at the bottom of this page, www.majorgiftscoaching.com and we’ll hop on the phone to discuss.

Dedicated to many, many happy major gifts for your cause,

Gail

PS: If you missed our free webinar, The Ultimate Guide to Building a Profitable Major Gift Program, I’m pleased to share the recordings with you.

We had hundreds of people around the world join us for this robust discussion.

We covered:

  • 5 must-have elements for a great major gift program
  • Advanced discovery and qualification skills
  • The role of your board in major gift fundraising
  • How to take an organized, structured approach to major gift

PSS: Here’s our series on Major Gifts Fundraising so far:

  • (Major Gifts #1) How to Move from Transactional to Transformational Major Gifts
  • (Major Gifts #2) What You Can Expect from a Full Scale Major Gift Program
  • (Major Gifts #3) What Board Members and Executive Management Need to Know About Major Gift Strategy
  • (Major Gifts #4) What’s the Return on Investment from a Major Gift Program?
  • (Major Gifts #5) Major Gift Fundraising by the Numbers