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Ellen Duero Rohwer, CFRE
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Identifying Major Gift Under-Performers and Superstars, Before the Gifts Arrive


Major gift officers are likely the most expensive development professionals in your office. With a relatively long lead time before you see their results, “dollars-in-the-door” are a lagging indicator of performance. So, how do you know who is on their way to success, and who is not? Ensure your gift officers are on track for success by asking these questions, and more:

Donor pipeline—what's happening each month?

  1. How many, in what stage, for how many dollars?
  2. How many new opportunities has the officer developed or taken on?
  3. How many have moved forward into a next stage?
  4. How many asks happened last month?

Moves management—how are donors progressing through your system?

  1. How long are opportunities stuck in a stage?
  2. How often is the gift much less than the projected ask amount?
  3. How often is the projected close date changing?
  4. What is the ratio of activity on new prospects versus existing donors, and upgrading versus sustaining donors?

With these, and other key performance indicators in hand, you can identify under-performers early, and help adjust strategies for success. You can also identify your top performers and ensure they are supported. Create an environment where talent thrives!