10 Donor Records Every Major Gift Officer Should Keep Track Of
A $75,000 gift! And the MGO has no memory of the donor. There had been no further contact. There was no communications plan for the donor. The donor was lost! Not lost in terms of contact information; lost as relates relationship and lost as relates information related to the gift.
This is pretty sad. I wish I had been there when our associate had a “little chat” with this MGO about this situation. I think his “seat-of-the-pants” style has been reined in a bit.
In major gift work, there is never an excuse not to keep very good notes about every donor contact. And these notes need to be in the organization’s system, not some MGO notepad. Why? So that if the MGO leaves, the person filling his place can pick up where he left off.
These contact and move records should:
- Be recorded in the system the day of contact. Why? Because memory fades quickly, and you will miss important details.
- Be succinct and "to the point."
- Keep a record of gifts given (flowers, mugs, plaques, etc.).
- Document visits, calls, emails the MGO initiated. Faithfully record what happened as a result of those contacts, and what the next step is.
- Document visits, calls, gifts etc., which someone other than the MGO initiated (i.e. CEO or president calls or writes or sends gifts). This was a BIG issue with one seasoned MGO we worked with, because her director of development would contact donors, ask them for funds, drop off gifts and not tell the MGO. As a result, interfering with and often spoiling her well thought out plans to ask these donors for gifts.
- Include interests, family info, names of kids, dogs, etc.
- Include other organizations the donor gives to.
- Include information such as place of business, home info, cars, boats, travel etc.
- Document projects they give to.
- Record next steps to be taken in the relationship with deadlines.
This list is not exhaustive, and most MGOs say they know “this stuff”; but the sad fact remains that time after time, the contact notes are not kept, the memory fades and the relationship is lost.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.