Let me say, right at the top, that the MGO gets all the credit for revenue from any donor on his or her caseload with the exception of planned gifts IF a PGO was involved.
There are a lot of people who do not agree with what I just said.
And it is one of those issues in many non-profits that has MGOs frustrated and discouraged. Let me unpack this a bit to explain things.
First of all, we are starting with the idea that an MGO has 150 qualified donors on his or her caseload. These are donors that in some form or another have said they want to relate to an MGO.
Secondly, as we have said before, these donors are, for the most part, still on direct mail, may come to some events and will receive other marketing and communication information from your organization. Remember, a donor should NOT come off of direct mail until you are sure you have a superior communication strategy in place with that donor. Even then, they will and should receive newsletters and, likely, other types of general info from the organization.
All of this communication activity toward the donor (direct marketing in any form: print, online, electronic and events and other types of messaging) will, most assuredly, cause some of your donors to respond affirmatively and send in a gift. Sometimes they will send in a gift in white mail – a plain envelope with a live stamp with no response device of clue as to what may have piqued their interest.
In some cases, the donor may have been to some public meeting, run into an executive of the organization, had a conversation and, as a result, sent in a gift.
Or, there is a capital campaign going on and the donor gave a gift toward it.
Or, the PGO (Planned Giving Officer) may have had a conversation with the donor that resulted in a current gift.
Regardless, in ALL of these situations the MGO gets the credit. All of them. With one exception – if the PGO has been working with the donor for some time and a planned gift results from that relationship.
I experienced a situation recently in which finance – bless their hearts – produced a skewed report for one MGO. They seemed to have a particular need to put him down because his total year-to-date revenue was hacked down by over 40% because:
- A certain amount came in a direct mail return envelope.
- Another amount came in from an event the donor went to.
- A third amount came in in white mail and would have come in anyway.
- And on and on and on and on….
The Development Director and I talked about this situation. I pointed out that before we started working with his MGO, the year-to-year value of the group of donors he was managing was dropping off at an alarming 56% the first year and 45% the second year!!
This means that if the caseload was $1 million in the first year, it was $540,000 in the second year $243,000 the third year!
And that now the MGO’s caseload was retaining value and growing.
Hmmm…… I wonder how come? Could it be that the MGO was touching these good donors and they were now responding to all kinds of things? I think so.
But don’t expect a finance person to understand this.
So, why does an MGO get credit for all the revenue that comes from his or her caseload donors?
Because when a donor is touched and managed by an MGO,
giving goes up from that donor or is, at least, retained in equal value
from prior years. There is a direct correlation between
the MGO involvement and retained value.
If you are having trouble with “the credit thing” in your organization and you have a finance department that is pecking the life out of you by taking away credit for the many of the gifts your donors are giving, hopefully, you have a manager in between who is your advocate and is arguing the case with management.
If you don’t have an advocate and your manager is part of the pecking game, I suggest you leave the organization and let them have their year-to-year losses from the donors you are managing. Perhaps then they will get what we are all trying to say.