A Day in the Life of a Great MGO
Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of major-gift officers. Some are good, some are not so good and some are extraordinary. We’re working with a number of extraordinary ones right now.
The other day, I asked one of these great MGOs to tell me what a typical day looks like, so I could share it with you to give you an idea of how an extraordinary MGO goes about her day. I thought it would be pretty cool to see how this MGO actually does her work, and she was more than happy to talk with me. Now, she told me that every day is not exactly like this, but this is what is typical for her.
This is what her day looks like:
1. Exercise: She gets up around 5:00 a.m. to exercise everyday at her gym—she says exercise helps her stamina and it makes her feel good.
2. Family time: In the morning, she helps her two kids get off to school and makes sure they have breakfast together. She volunteers once a week in the mornings to do playground duty.
3. Office: She gets to her office between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., or she works from home. The first thing she does is write out five “thank you” notes to her donors and program staff.
4. Portfolio briefing: At 9:00 a.m. every morning, she schedules a portfolio briefing with the CEO. She manages his portfolio along with hers, and she creates a standing meeting to make sure they touch base every day. This meeting goes from 15 to 30 minutes.
5. Donor meeting prep: If it’s a Monday, she is doing research and prep for meetings that are happening Wednesday through Friday with donors.
6. Donor schedule: She takes part of the later half of the morning to start scheduling meeting with donors one month in advance. She said her donors are busy and they need that kind of lead-time.
7. Lunch with donor: Her goal is to do three to four lunches a week with different donors. Most of her lunches are not solicitations, but trying to find out who the donor is and what they’re passionate about. executes. She likes to spend at least one hour three days a week to talk to program people, watch the programs in action and sometimes interview clients.
9. Database entry: Everyday she allocates 30 to 45 minutes to enter in data on her donors from the day.
10. Donor calls: She takes time to call donors to confirm meetings for the following week. She stays ahead of it all by working with her dashboard that is connected to her database. She has all her moves entered into the database and her complete strategic plan by donor.
11. Colleague meetings: She told me that regularly during the week, she meets with her fellow development colleagues. They talk through their portfolio donors, and they give each other advice on how to handle certain situations.
12. Back home: If she doesn’t have a donor meeting or event to attend to, she usually leaves the office by 5:45 p.m to 6:00 p.m.
13. Family time: She devotes 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to family.
14. Emails: She said she gives herself a little time before bed to review any important emails. She said it calms her before getting ready for bed.
15. Bed: In bed by 9:00 p.m.—reads a good book until 9:30 p.m. or earlier if she is really tired.
There it is—a little glimpse into the day of an incredible MGO. I guess what I most appreciate about how she manages her day is that she touches on a little bit of everything. She told me she likes variety and that while some MGOs may focus on one thing a day, she likes to “mix it up.”
Well, she is doing something right. She is now the director of Principle Gifts. I don’t think you have to do it the way she does to be successful, but it seems to work great for her.
What is your day like?
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.