As a major gift officer, it is always important to have an effective plan of work for your prospect pool and we have a spreadsheet that can help. The below spreadsheet will keep you focused on your most promising opportunities and make sure you are efficiently moving prospects through the donor pipeline.
The first tab of “Solicitation” should be filled in with all the prospects in your portfolio that will be solicited for a gift in the upcoming school year. These prospect should have some sort of touch point at least once a month. The second tab of “Cultivation” is where the rest of your prospects should be placed that will be engaged for gifts in future years. Some of the Cultivation prospects may move over to the Solicitation tab if their readiness to make a gift happens sooner. The cultivation prospects should have a touch point at least quarterly. After inputting all your prospects in these two tabs, fill in the columns for each prospect: Amount, Ask Readiness, Next Step, Activity to Move Prospect. Below is an explanation of each column in the spreadsheet.
Enter the gift amount that is expected from the prospect based on your best estimate.
How ready is the prospect to be asked for a gift? If they are ready now (or have already been asked), input High. If they need more engagement activities, input a lower level that is more fitting. This column will become your most important data point for planning the year. Pull down options:
1 – Very Low
2 – Low
3 – Medium
4 – High
Input the next step that you will execute to get the prospect closer to making a major gift. Pull down options:
1 – Engagement Activity
2 – Start Gift Discussion
3 – Make Ask
4 – Close Gift
Activity to Move Prospect
This column goes into detail about the specific activity that will help move the prospect. The pull down menu lists engagement activities that are organized from levels 1 through 5. The first level includes lower activities like being a event volunteer. The highest level of five is the deepest form of involvement which is a board of trustees member. The goal of this column is to give you helpful engagement suggestions that will grow a prospect’s affinity as higher levels are utilized. Pull down options:
1 – Event Volunteer
1 – Event Judge
1 – Individual Meeting with Faculty
1 – Class Guest Speaker
1 – Career Services
2 – Student Mentoring
2 – Free Tickets to Events
2 – Research Project
2 – Meeting with Department Head
3 – Department Alumni Award
3 – Department Advisory Board
3 – Event Keynote Speaker
4 – Meeting with President
4 – University Alumni Award
5 – Board of Trustees
For tips on building a list of tiered engagement activities for your university, read this article.
This is the location of where the prospect lives using their geo code (i.e Boston Chapter). This column will be helpful to plan out your travel.
Input details about where the gift will be directed and any other information that you deem important.
Once everything has been filled in on the spreadsheet, you can sort the data to plan the year. First sort by “Ask Readiness” from high to low. The prospects with the highest readiness should be your priority and visited right away. A secondary sort by Geo Code can be done to plan travel around those prospects that are most ready to be solicited. Overall, the goal is to keep better track of your prospects that are a priority and the activity being done to move them closer to a gift.