Thursday, 19 April 2012

Major Gifts KPIs - how much can you raise (part 2)?

Last week, wrote about setting financial targets for major gifts fundraising (How much money can you raise?) and I talked about the factors upon which this depends e.g.
  • Size and quality of your prospect pool
  • Warmth and affinity of your prospects
  • Project for which you are fundraising
  • How time you can devote to fundraising
Now let’s put some flesh on those bones. 

Time frames:
  • If you’re working on high value gifts e.g. £1-£5K you might be soliciting a gift on your first meeting.  Let’s put time scales at 0 – 6 months.
  • If you’re working on major gifts e.g. £100,000 - £1M you might taken longer in the planning and solicitation.  Let’s put time scales at 12 – 24 months.
Number of gifts:
1:4 ratio:  I like to work to a 1:4 (even 1:6 for a cold pool) ratio for major gifts.  That means for every gift you want to solicit you need to have four prospects.  Let’s go back to the bullet points above: size and quality of your prospect pool.  

If you don’t have x4 the amount of prospects to the number of gifts you need, you should seriously think about revising your targets and timelines because you need to spend time not just on soliciting money but on growing your prospect pool (more on this in a later post).

**A brief digression: these are rules of thumb, based on experience. The prospect journey at your organisation may be different. When making decisions for your organisation you will always be better off using data wizardry of the type practised by Collectivist Paul - don't believe me, believe the data.  In the absence of such a wizard, fundraising folklore, sometimes heralded as 'received wisdom' or 'rules of thumb' will have to suffice.**

Don't overlook data wizardry - decision making science is your friend

Size of gifts:
Again, let’s go back to the bullet points above.  Size and quality of your prospect pool, warmth and affinity of your prospect pool and project for which you are fundraising.
  1. If you have no £500,000 prospects in your pool, you will not be raising £500,000 gifts.  Not unless there is a clutch of freak lottery winning windfalls amongst your prospects.  Match your predicted gift table to your pool.  
  2. A donor’s first gift is unlikely to be their largest.  If this is a cold pool you are unlikely to be receiving the maximum gift a donor can give.  That will come later.  Adjust your expectations accordingly. 
  3. Are your prospects actually connected to your organisation or randomly culled from a rich list?  If the latter, they have no affinity.  Increase that ratio from 1:4 to 1:6 or higher.
  4. Will your project actually command big gifts?  What could a million pounds do?  What could £5,000 do?  If you don’t know the answer to this, you won’t be securing big gifts.  Generally Big Strategic Gifts tend to be for ring fenced projects.
Number of meetings:
You can only solicit gifts if you are busy meeting donors.  This means the number of gifts you can solicit will be dependent on the number of meetings you can feasibly achieve.  See last week’s post on meeting targets for major gifts fundraisers for more on that.

So here’s the magic formula.

Okay, so that was a lie.  There isn’t a magic formula because frankly, I couldn’t come up with a formula if a calculator was surgically embedded in my brain.  I rely on clever people like Collectivist Paul for that kind of thing. 

No formulas.  But fantasy novels, those I can do.  Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure Books? 
Let’s call this, Choose Your Own Fundraising Target.  And it looks a little bit like.....

Oh no.  You’ll have to wait until next week for that *evil laugh*.

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