- Have the pilot of the airplane using their time to clean the plane after every flight. Why? Because that is a misuse of their time. A better use of a pilot’s time after the flight is to prepare for the next flight, etc.
- Have a surgeon doing a bunch of data entry for the office. Why? Because that is a misuse of their time. That is not the value-add of a surgeon.
- Pull your very talented chef out of the kitchen to do the dishes that customers have left behind. Why? Because cooking the meal is the value contribution of the chef. Many others are capable of cleaning up.
- Take your top salesperson off the street and have them in non-stop meetings at the home office or filling out endless reports. Why? Because it would stop the flow of new business.
And I could go on and on with what you would not do.
But every single day here at Veritus, we hear about authority figures doing this very thing with their frontline fundraisers: MLOs, MGOs, and PGOs. They’re being pulled off the frontline, where they can make their biggest contribution, to do mundane back-office work or sit in meetings. What a waste of time and resources!
When you ask your frontline fundraiser to do non-caseload work, you’re taking money right out of your organizational pocket.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you have a major gift officer (MGO) who has a portfolio of qualified donors who collectively gave $800,000 last year. That $800,000 will turn into somewhere between $320,000 to $480,000 (40-60%) this year IF the donors remain unmanaged. This is value attrition. We absolutely know, from thousands of donor file analysis over the years, that this range is true. You will lose a lot of money if the donors are not managed.
OK, that is the first data point.
Secondly, your frontline fundraiser is key to retaining these funds and securing even more funds.
We absolutely know this from experience as well. So, they must stay focused on being with their qualified donors, not organizing events with your events staff, doing back-office work, sitting in non-stop meetings, running errands, etc. They must be with donors.
Look at it this way. Take the mid-point of value attrition loss – so, 50%. So, let’s say you’ll lose $400,000 from the caseload of qualified donors who last year gave $800,000. Further, let’s say you’re grabbing one-fourth of your MGO’s time for non-donor back-office work – work that someone else could do. That one-fourth of the MGO’s time means that you will not recover $100,000 of value from the donors who gave last year.
Is it worth it to you to forego $100,000 to use the MGO’s labor to do back-office work? I doubt it. So, why are you doing it? Why are you wasting your MGO’s time with asking them to do work that’s not donor-facing? It doesn’t make sense.
This is a wake-up call to fundraising management and leadership. You want your frontline fundraisers out with donors, NOT in the office. Why? Because that’s where they can deliver the maximum economic value to your organization.