Over the last four years, we have often asked you to do a “check-in” on your major gift caseload progress at this time of year.
Why? Because after three months of activity in the new year, you start to develop convictions, patterns and revelations about your caseload that will help you predict how you are going to do with your revenue goals.
Can you believe we are almost at the end of March? Believe me, it always seems like the “fundraising year” goes faster than normal life. Why is that? I don’t know, but now is the perfect time to evaluate, set course corrections and communicate to leadership what is happening, before you wake up and it’s July and you are scrambling.
Here are some areas to think about today to set the stage for ultimate 2015 success.

  1. Overall caseload review. Are there some donors that should come off your caseload? Are there donors waiting in the wings that should now be brought on to the caseload? A quarterly review of moving donors on or off is a good practice. Sometimes it’s done once or twice a year, but now is a good time to review. Why keep someone on your caseload that is not a major donor, when someone that has more potential could benefit from your added communication?
  2. Review revenue goals. This is the time of year to go through every donor’s goal to see if any adjustments need to be made. Are you still on track to make these goals? Have any outside circumstances changed to prevent you from making a certain goal with a donor? I don’t recommend changing the goal, but I do suggest notating if a goal will not be met, and why. Likewise, you may exceed a goal. Again don’t change the goal, but make a point of documenting that increase and why.
  3. Review your upcoming personal touches. Take a look at what you have planned over the next six months to communicate to your donors. Do you have the right amount of personal touches (thank you notes, personal notes regarding their interests) with “you made a difference” pieces that are reporting back how their gifts are making an impact? It’s important that you have at least one touch per month. I’ve seen MGOs get in trouble when they don’t plan far enough ahead – they end up scrambling at the last minute to come up with something for their caseload donors. This needs real thought. Take the time to do this right.
  4. MegaDonor Strategy. How are you doing identifying and creating a strategy for those two or three donors on your caseload that can make a six- or seven-figure gift (or more)? This should be part of your overall caseload strategy in 2015. You still have time to develop the offers and to cultivate the donor to create the opportunity for a solicitation. Spend some time thinking about this today. Who are the donors on your file that could make a transformational gift? Then work with your team to make it happen.
  5. Communicate all this with your manager. Probably the biggest frustration we hear from MGOs and managers alike is the lack of communication that goes on between them. Richard and I urge you to have at least a quarterly check-in with your manager, to let her know where you are with your caseload. Now is the time to bring up donors who may be in jeopardy of not making their goals. Get all of that into the light. Too many MGOs get into trouble when they hide problems. Those tend to become much bigger problems in the fourth quarter when your manager discovers on her own that you will not make your revenue goals. So talk to each other.

Take time this week to evaluate all of these points. Set up a meeting with your manager, and revamp your strategic plan NOW before more time passes. Be proactive, and you’ll see good results because of it.