cleanup 2015-Jun17
I love to clean. In fact, Richard is a cleaning nut too. Our significant others love that whatever they mess up in the kitchen, we love to put it back and clean it up.
I don’t know what it is, but there is nothing like straightening up, dusting off, and getting things back in order.
Now that summer is nearly upon us, it’s time to “clean up” your portfolio of major donors and get it into shape as you plan for and execute the second half of your year.
Here are some things you can do with your caseload this summer that will help you succeed by the end of December.

  1. Review all donors on your portfolio who have not given in the last 2 years. These donors have really lapsed. Most of them should not be in your portfolio unless they have given significantly in the past, you know why they are lapsed and have reason to believe they will give a gift this year, or they have tremendous capacity. (At Veritus, we do not advocate our clients’ holding on to anyone who hasn’t given in 24 or more months.) Review each donor, and meet with your manager to go over the list with you. Do a yes, no, maybe pile; then go back to the maybes and try to justify why they should take up your time. Remember, your time is precious, and you need to be focused on donors who want to hear from you and make a difference through your organization. This will keep you focused.
  2. Review all donors who have not given in the last 12 months. Next, take those donors who have not given in the last 12 months and develop a 3-month strategy of “up or out.” Develop a plan for those recently-lapsed donors to engage them and garner a high confidence level that you will receive a gift this year. If you have some donors from whom you know you will not receive a gift this year, either put them in your C-level category or remove them to make way for new major donors.
  3. Vet all potential major donors. Presumably you will have some capacity for new major donors after the previous two exercises. While it can get tricky, this is where you need to compare your original donors’ giving goals with your new set of donors, and make sure the new group total equals or exceeds the old. If you will not be able to replace the income with your new donors quite yet, you need to communicate that to your manager immediately and come to agreement on it. Nothing can be worse than leaving the manager out of the loop until the end of the year, when she discovers that you’ve replaced a number of donors and your goals have changed. Communication is key.
  4. Create a new major donor strategy. So let’s say you are replacing 10 old donors with new donors that have been qualified. You need to jump start your relationship with them in the next 30-60 days. Focus on creating face-to-face meetings with them, finding out what their passion is, and setting up a solicitation. If appropriate, perhaps this is something that can happen in the next six months.
  5. Communicate all changes once you’ve completed your clean up. I know I sound redundant, but this is important enough that I’m going to keep saying it. Any change to your caseload has to be communicated up to leadership. Not that you just replaced donors on your caseload and now you have updated goals. No, you need to communicate why you did this with each donor, and gain agreement from your boss about the donors dropped and added. No forgetting, hiding or withholding information. Get everything into the light.

Ah, summer clean up time! You’ll feel really good when you go through this exercise this summer. You really will. Now, I need to go clean out my garage.
Series details – Six Actions for Summer Impact that will Lead to Year-End Success

  1. Review Your Goals and Reassess
  2. Take a Deep Dive with your B and C Donors
  3. Take a Personal Retreat
  4. Clean Up Your Portfolio (this post)