How Would You Rate Your Prospect Management System?| Part 4

This is my final post in a four-part series that outlines the various levels of prospect management we encounter with our clients.

  • In Part I, I covered rating choice “Level 1,” and how this signifies that an organization does not have a formalized prospect management system in place.
  • In Part 2 covered rating choice “Level 2” and included tips on what data to start tracking in your CRM system (or spreadsheets) to create a central repository of your activity with your major and planned gift prospect pool. I also provided instruction on setting up prospect review meetings to discuss status.
  • In Part 3, I covered rating choice “Level 3” and having the mechanics of the program in place by making sure you have senior-level buy-in, proper training of all staff involved in your prospect management software system, tracking the proper statistics in order to produce metrics and reports that will help your organization measure both what is working well and areas for improvement.

Today, we’ll dive into “Level 4:  Well-oiled machine: All systems in place with nearly 100% adoption.”

At the  4th level of 100% adoption for your prospect management system, your organization is now able to provide a deep analysis with reportings based on a sound system and full buy-in from all staff. This will allow all team members to easily and clearly find information re: the status of a campaign or major gift program and determine whether your organization’s goals around these initiatives are on track or are at risk.  Your reports should allow your organization to clearly see the trouble areas that are causing your goals to be at risk .

It is paramount when you are entering and regurgitating data from your prospect management system that you look for ways to continuously improve the process by building reports that provide deep and meaningful analysis, to give your organization insight into developing patterns. 

In the last blog we discussed the types of data and insights to capture, such as the composition of each gift officer’s portfolio and whether or not there should be adjustments.  Your reports should also capture forecasts for expected gift amounts, dates, and percent of confidence in those gifts so that leadership can whether campaign goals or major gift projections for the year are on-target.  This will provide insights necessary for future campaigns and program initiatives.

Reporting that includes both high-level at-a-glance data charts and graphs for senior management, as well as in-depth reporting that contains detailed analysis of each gift officer’s progress, should be easy to read so that during campaign meetings and  gift officer meetings all parties have what is needed for productive discussions on what’s working and what needs refinement.  There are a myriad of questions that should be discussed during these meetings, and your reports should easily provide answers to these questions so that your development team can take the necessary actions required for a successful outcome.

Below are questions that your organization should continually ask during both individual gift officer meetings and reviews as well as during senior leadership and board meetings.

One-on-one gift officer questions during reviews and meetings:

  • Is there enough in the pipeline for the gift officer to be successful and reach the target dollars raised and to do so on time?
  • Are prospects who are unresponsive or deemed not to be a prospect for major/campaign gifts being disqualified so that new prospects can be contacted and qualified?
  • Are the number of newly assigned prospects being qualified on a monthly basis that meets the target agreed upon for the team?
  • Are appointments being set-up and number of contacts during cultivation happening on a regular basis, so that warm prospects are being cultivated in the agreed-upon manner?
  • Is the gift officer assigning next steps with dates and type of action required within the prospect management software system for every prospect in the portfolio?
  • Would board involvement (or a particular member) be helpful at any or all stages of prospect management with certain prospects on a gift officer’s list?

High-level analysis questions by senior leadership and during campaign/advisory board meetings:

  • How many active proposals are pending?
  • How many total prospects do you have at each level/stage of prospect management?
  • How many total prospects do you have by percentage of confidence at each prospect stage, dollar amount expected, and date expected?
  • Do we have the number of prospects with capacity and inclination to reach our goal? If not, do we need to do an analytics or wealth screening to find additional capable and inclined prospects to qualify and cultivate?
  • Is one gift officer’s pipeline too full or not full enough? If so, do we need to readjust and reassign?
  • Do we need board involvement in the qualification, cultivation, and/or solicitation of certain prospects?
  • The bottom line question is… Are we able to reach our financial goals with the current pipeline of prospects and gift officers assigned to these prospects and can we reach our goals on time?

If during these types of meetings you are unable to answer these questions, I suggest you look into ways to capture data and/or refine your reporting so that your team can produce the types of metrics that will make for productive and action-oriented results.