[APRA-NW] RE: Virtual Roundtable for January: Relationship Management

Faulhaber, Christina faulhaberc at seattleu.edu
Wed Jan 8 12:03:48 PST 2014

Hi Jessica,
Great questions, especially since we are reevaluation how we do pretty much everything, after some big staffing transitions; over half of our fundraisers are now new to us.

1) Average portfolio size: our portfolios consist of qualified prospects with potential to make a gift of $25K+, with a separate grouping for potential prospects that are currently in assessment as to interest/capacity/assignment. Portfolios range in size from 50 (for the VP) to 200+ (for planned giving), but for those whose job focus is major gifts ( central and school/college/athletics) portfolios are 75 to 100 qualified household prospects with intent to solicit within 3 years or in solicitation or stewardship; there are then another 50 names average/major gift fundraiser whom they are qualifying for entry into a portfolio, although some of these are ballooning and need to be better focused. This brings up the question of how each institution defines a major gift portfolio, and the related question of whether or not you have standards in terms of the composition of each portfolio.

2) How portfolios are populated: a variety of methods, including open cultivation/fundraiser pick up, my recommendation after I review prospect pools with each fundraiser, researchers recommendations from newly identified prospects, and currently a lot of list review by myself and with my supervisor of names that have fallen out of portfolios for a variety of reasons, as well as annual review of those rated as Not a Prospect at this time.

3) Updating portfolios: this is fundraiser specific, since we don't have your numbers! Besides an annual review post-fiscal year with each fundraiser, when I send out month-before reminders of quarterly reports, I offer my services to sit down for portfolio review. Some fundraisers meet faithfully every quarter, a couple meet every month, for updates; others are very self-sufficient and need no assistance until FY over; new fundraisers have more frequent reviews until they are up to speed.

My questions have to do with portfolios for planned giving and corporate foundation relations. I would love to know how other shops approach portfolio composition/size/policies for these two areas. And my other question is about tracking prospects not currently in portfolios formerly but who are still being engaged by major gift fundraisers.

Our planned giving office has large portfolios, and huge qualification lists, because of the longer time frame between initial contact and when a planned gift is finalized and because they have huge qualification potential from a project they undertook with an outside firm contacting a fifth of our constituents to ascertain interest in a legacy gift. I have not been much involved with PG efforts to date, but with an entirely new team here I'd like to formalize procedures. Some questions are really granular such as what to enter as ask amounts when the PG office is confirming a bequest intention, how to code coordination with other fundraisers, when to code an ask as having been made, how long to keep an ask in negotiation stage, all of which are not as clear cut as with major gifts. Currently, it is up to the PG office to decide on when a bequest confirmation is a formal ask and proposals stay open indefinitely.

Corporate Foundation Relations uses our proposal records well to manage their time and deadlines and keep track of potential connections in discovery. I would like to know what other institutions have as expectations for portfolio size, qualifying new prospects, as well as how coordination with major gift officers works in terms of proposal records and credit on relationship management reports.

Engaged prospects who are not currently in a fundraiser's portfolio or qualification pool yet fundraiser needs to keep track of them: we have prospects with whom a major gift fundraiser works who do not belong in their portfolio, but the fundraiser is involved with the prospect and wants to stay connected for future solicitations; for example a college-based fundraiser has board members/volunteers/prospects with close faculty connections/potential is several years out etc. whom they connect with regularly and want not to lose track of them, but for a variety of reasons do not yet need/want the prospect in his/her portfolio. I am curious how other institutions track these names for fundraisers.

As we embark on a campaign, I am sure I will be full of questions about whether/how to connect our relationship management data to campaign reporting!


From: apra-nw-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu [mailto:apra-nw-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jessica S. Balsam
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 11:24 AM
To: apra-nw at u.washington.edu
Subject: [APRA-NW] Virtual Roundtable for January: Relationship Management

Hi everyone!

We're just a few days away from screening a Relationship Management webinar in Seattle<http://apra-nw.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1092815&eventId=817696&EventViewMode=EventDetails>; it will be shown in Corvallis<http://apra-nw.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1092815&eventId=817702&EventViewMode=EventDetails> on Monday and in Portland<http://apra-nw.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1092815&eventId=815088&EventViewMode=EventDetails> on February 10th. So let's chat about relationship management, shall we? I'll start us off with a few questions, but please jump in with your own. Don't forget to reply-all to the listserv.

Here's a few questions to get us started. Please share your answers to one or all!

1) What's the average portfolio size at your organization? Here at UW we made a major effort to reduce portfolio size and increase focus on higher-level prospects in summer 2011. Now that we're two years in, we have an average portfolio size of 150 prospects (our prospects are householded and grouped with their family foundations). If we take out all our assistant-level fundraisers (who are focused on lower-level gifts), the average drops to 110. I wish it were even lower, but it's a big improvement over the 200 and 300-prospect portfolios we used to have. And this leads into my next question...

2) How do fundraisers' portfolios get populated? Here at UW, we have a strong culture of letting the fundraiser choose who goes into their portfolio (and who comes out). This is one way we carry out our open cultivation policy, where any prospect can be cultivated by any fundraiser. So we have all sorts of methods to encourage them to focus on the best prospects. I can extrapolate if people are interested.

3) How do you keep portfolios up to date? Here at UW we meet quarterly with each fundraiser to go over their portfolio and proposals. A researcher and a relationship management person (both from our team) go to the fundraiser's office and meet with them for 30 minutes, collect updates, and then do the data entry or research when they get back to their desks. This is a major undertaking for our 150+ fundraisers; it takes about 5 weeks every quarter to get through all of them (with our staff of 4 FTE relationship management folks). But we find that it's a great chance for us to remind them about policies and tease out missing information that we wouldn't otherwise get. The fundraisers tell us that it's a super valuable reminder of where they need to focus in the coming quarter.

What else is bugging you about relationship management/prospect management/tracking or whatever you call it at your organization? How to track the performance of corporate/foundation fundraisers? Planned gifts? How to get people to file contact reports? Ask away!


Jessica Balsam, President, APRA-NW
Associate Director, Relationship Management
University of Washington Advancement

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