Examining Portfolio Optimization at bbcon 2020

I’m excited… bbcon2020 is just around the corner and with it being virtual this year, I’m looking forward to seeing more of my peers’ and colleagues’ sessions, and meeting and networking with many attendees – some of whom I may not have been able to meet were it not virtual. I’m also pumped to be presenting again this year on a topic that continues to be an important topic for prospect managers, officers and leaders: optimizing portfolios.

Last year at bbcon 2019, I presented a session titled Best Practices for Portfolio Management. In the session, I provided an overview of five key portfolio management practices that an institution could put in place:

  • Hygiene: the practice of maintaining the overall health of a portfolio in terms of size and overall quality.
  • Composition: the practice of taking a deeper look into the nature of the portfolio’s makeup or mix of prospects in terms of stage, officer role and tenure, philanthropic interest of prospects, etc., which can help refine size and quality.
  • Coverage: the practice of examining how well-managed the portfolio is as measured by activities such as visits and proposals.
  • Review: the practice of scheduling a reoccurring time to meet with officers and their managers to determine if portfolios are healthy and being actively managed.
  • Churn: the practice of removing prospects that have been disqualified, placed in stewardship, are not being actively managed, and replacing with prospects that are qualified and ready to move along the pipeline.

While examining these management practices, there were some clear patterns pointing to better outcomes, either in terms of portfolio performance or officer performance. One example was that among institutions whose average portfolio size was smaller, we saw an increase in average number of commitments and in number of visits per officer at those institutions.

This year, instead of looking at average metrics at the institution level, I wanted to take a deeper dive and hone-in on portfolio strategies that could really help boost officer success. In other words: we are aware that factors like the number of prospects, quality of prospects or the number of visits made by an officer can make a difference, but how much of a difference can they really make?

In this year’s BBCON session, Utilizing Data to Maximize Officer Portfolio Composition, I’ll examine a handful of portfolio strategies and determine how much of an impact they can have in driving maximum results. I’ll provide a breakdown of the data for three types of officers: Leadership Annual Giving Officers, Major Gift Officers and Planned Giving Officers, although you can certainly apply these data-driven strategies to examine portfolios of other types of officers. Along the way, we will discuss how the pandemic has perhaps shifted how we view and think about the visits metric and what this may mean for officer goals and performance going forward. Finally, with each strategy, we will review next steps and “how-to’s” you can bring back to your own organization.

If you are a prospect researcher, portfolio manager, officer or an officer manager, I hope you’ll join me at bbcon 2020!

Join Michael for her bbcon session Utilize Data to Maximize Officer Portfolio Composition for actionable recommendations based on data from 180+ institutions in the fundraiser performance management community. Register today!