The Pentera Blog

Gift Officers Say They Need Smaller Portfolios with Better Donor Prospects

Major and planned gift officers say that only 37 percent of new donor prospects are truly qualified to make a gift and that "smaller portfolios with better prospects" would make planned giving fundraising more productive.

Those are among the findings of a survey of 270 major and planned giving professionals that was conducted earlier this year by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a firm that provides software and technology services to nonprofits.

The gift officers reported that they are able to visit about half of their assigned donor prospects in a year, averaging 74 visits out of an average prospect pool of 142. Fifty-five percent of the gift officers said they wanted to spend more time on solicitation and that the main reasons for not getting more gifts was limited time plus donor lists that are too large and without enough well-qualified prospects.

"Survey respondents indicated prospects were often assigned 'randomly' or 'in bulk' based on wealth rating," the report states. "Gift officers reported significant frustration with the time spent setting up and completing qualification visits that did not ultimately lead to gifts."

Other key findings include:

  • Eighty-six percent of the gift officers said that they use wealth ratings of donor prospects, but only 27 percent found those ratings to be "quite effective" or "very effective."
  • The gift officers said that the top two ways they communicate with donors (other than personal visits) are direct mail and e-mail - marketing services like those that Pentera provides.
  • The gift officers said the two most difficult aspects of their jobs are "focusing on the right donors" and "reaching donors successfully to suggest a meeting."

The full report is available here.