Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Major Gifts KPIs: Meeting Targets

There's a lot of chat on the Major Gifts forums at the moment about key performance indicators (KPIs) target setting and benchmarking for major gifts start up programmes.  As it happens, KPIs and targets are something I feel strongly about and here's why:

If you monitor the wrong thing you will drive bad practice.

KPIs and targets are powerful things.  They can motivate or demotivate a team.  They can help to prioritise, or send your fundraiser off on the wrong tangent.  They can encourage team working or destructive competition.

So what is a good KPI and what is a bad KPI?

Here's the rub: it depends.  


Well sorry about that, but it does.  It depends on these four things:
  • What type of gifts you are seeking - £1K or £1M?
  • How well established your fundraiser is - brand new or well established? 
  • Your fundraiser's prospect portfolio / pipeline - mature or immature?
  • How well supported your fundraiser is - sole staff member or with an admin team behind them?
Just teasing.  There are some general principles to guide you on your way, for example:

Portfolio size:  A prospect portfolio is the number of prospects your fundraiser can actively manage at any one time.  Time was when the industry standard for a FULL TIME fundraiser working primarily on major gifts was c. 100-120 prospects.  Current thinking (as discussed at a CASE Masterclass in February 2012) is that 80 prospects is closer to the mark.

Now it gets complicated.

If you are expecting your fundraiser to manage other programmes of work e.g. organise events, run appeals, do all the reporting and financial processing you need to pro rata two things:
  • prospect portfolio (e.g. a 0.6 FTE fundraiser will have 48 prospects)
  • meeting targets
Ah, I mentioned meeting targets Yes, meeting targets are an important KPI.  They can also be a nightmarish KPI.  If you want your fundraiser to solicit Big Strategic Gifts (e.g.£1M) and you give them a 15 meetings a month target, all their energy will go into getting meetings.  Lots of meetings.  Meetings with every bloody person who will say yes to a meeting, from Ms Wealthy CEO through to the dustbin man's mother-in-law.  Lots of meetings not much strategy.

Too many meetings... one caffeine high fundraiser

If you want your fundraiser to solicit Lots of High Value Gifts (e.g. £1K) then 15 meetings a month is a GREAT target.  A brilliant way of swelling your high value pool. A brilliant way of getting high entry level people into your annual giving scheme.  A brilliant way of getting your fundraiser out there making lots of asks.

Unless of course they are a NEW fundraiser with an immature prospect pool.  We've all been there.  A cold group of prospects who don't know you from Adam (or Eve).  Who possibly don't know your organisation.  Blimey O'Reilly you have to WORK for those meetings.  You feel like a double glazing salesman.

So if your monthly target is 15 meetings a month, you will very quickly feel demoralised and demotivated because a new fundraiser with a cold prospect pool cannot meeting that target.


So a NEW fundraiser should have a different set of targets from an established fundraiser?

Yes Siree!

For the first six months in the job, their targets should be about activity focused on getting meetings.  Are they picking up the phone?  Are they making contact?  Are they trying?

If they are rewarded for this industry, they will feel motivated.  When the meetings start to come they will be thrilled.  They will feel successful, and breed success.

That happy feeling when a prospect agrees to meet in Nero's

Let's go back to the Big Strategic Gifts for a minute.  If you're working on Big Strategic Gifts you need to focus on a small group of high net worth individuals.  You need to create bespoke solicitation plans and to bring them close to the organisation.  Their gifts are likely to multi-year pledges, so a lot of your meetings will be stewardship meetings.

What is appropriate for you?  

For fundraisers working on Big Strategic Gifts you should be looking at a monthly meeting target of c. 8 meetings a month and half of them may be stewardship meetings.  These donors are receiving a highly personalised programme of care, with bespoke and carefully planned interactions.  

And if your Big Strategic Gift fundraiser is brand new with a cold prospect pool?  See above!

Two other points:
  • Averages not Exacts: Most of us have variable workloads.  In October you might be organising an event, in May an appeal.  These soak up time and may get in the way of your meeting targets.  Your targets should therefore be a monthly average, not a monthly expectation. 
  • Team not Individual: With all target setting ask yourself is this a cumulative team target or an individual target?  Which is most appropriate?  Which will drive team working?


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