Major Gift Management

Keeping the prospect pipeline flowing is vital to the ongoing success of your fundraising program and the health of your organization. Susan Ulrich McLaughlin, CFRE, principal consultant at Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C., offers 11 key elements to diagnose and fix challenges that may be interrupting the flow of major gifts to your nonprofit.

  • Hold regular prospect management meetings with the fundraising team to review high level prospect status and next steps;
  • Review your prospect portfolio quarterly to continuously assess prospect ability, interest, and inclination;
  • Keep your portfolio at a manageable number (150-175);
  • Purge from your portfolio those prospects who might have ability based on research and ratings but have not been responsive to your attempts at engagement;
  • Review giving histories and organization interactions of modest donors to identify potential new prospects to add to your portfolio;
  • Develop a high level, outcome-based strategy of cultivation and solicitation for each prospect in your portfolio;
  • Create a moves management plan by phase for each of your prospects with defined completion dates;
  • Update your prospect strategies and plans quarterly;
  • Identify potential risks to the plan and have alternate steps ready to implement;
  • Review length of time that prospects are in each plan phase (qualification, cultivation, solicitation, closure, stewardship) to proactively address a potential clog; and,
  • Reach out to professional colleagues for advice and lessons learned when you feel like your plan has stalled.

Following a prospect plan will increase the number of proposals presented within a defined time frame and, without a doubt, will result in major gifts to your organization. Actively monitoring your portfolio – and, as a manager, the portfolios of your team — will ensure that you are regularly engaging your best prospects and moving them through the pipeline.


How are you managing your major gift donor case load?


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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