Thursday, March 27

Major donor fundraising metrics

Holly Hall's article on how major donor fundraising metrics has been racing around listserves and development offices for the past three weeks.

The article describes performance metrics being used by Development Directors to evaluate whether staff are doing their jobs... and raising serious money as effectively as possible..

When Paul Keenan first took a job soliciting big gifts for charity, his supervisor asked him and his colleagues to prepare monthly reports, listing all their contacts with potential donors, and whether they were calls, letters, or visits.

"It was controversial - people resented it because they were professionals and felt they could be trusted," says Mr. Keenan, now an associate dean of development at Harvard University. "They also felt it was overly bureaucratic."

Now, more than a decade later, such attitudes seem quaint. More and more charities are adopting sophisticated systems to monitor and assess the performance of staff members who solicit big gifts from wealthy people. The evaluation systems hold fund raisers to exacting requirements for the number of donors they visit, how such visits are reported, the amount of dollars raised, and the percentage of solicitations that result in a donation.

Such efforts can help fund raisers bring in more money, according to researchers. A 2006 study of nearly 600 college and university fund raisers who solicit big gifts found that those who raise the most work for institutions that are more systematic in tracking and applying performance measures.
Of all the different fundraising roles I've played, I've never had an opportunity to look a donor in the eye and ask for a gift over $100,000. I think that would be fun.

It's an excellent article about how the experts at the Mayo Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of America, Nature Conservancy, Alzheimer's Association and others do it. Go here to read more.


Anonymous said...

You have to create an account - either free or paid - to see entire article; just FYI.

Anonymous said...

Since this article requires us to purchase a subscription or a 24-hour pass to access it, we'd like to know if the info we are seeking is in the article. Can you please clarify whether it lays out the results of the testing -- i.e., the methods used by top fundraisers to get larger donations more often. Thank You!