Who Should Be on My Caseload?
The "really influential" donor hasn't given you a penny. Oh yeah, I know. This donor says he's interested, and he DOES know a lot of people. Well, ask him for a gift and see where it goes. Jeff and I have heard this "let's go after the guy who knows everyone" thing more times than we can count.
But here's the problem: YOU only have so much time. You need to use that time to develop economic value for your organization. Use it to nurture and coddle the "influential person," and be prepared to not meet your goals. Believe me. This happens way too often. Some bureaucrat in the organization gets fixed on the person she just met at the Rotary Club, and WHAM!, the MGO immediately has a new assignment. This is really irritating and a waste of time and labor. But I digress.
OK, let's say that you have your ability to select donors for your caseload all sharpened and on point. Now the question is this: "If I am using an inclination/capacity criteria to select donors for my caseload, and I am qualifying them properly, then how should I think about who is on my caseload, what value I should expect from them and how much of my labor should I invest?"
What we think about this is conceptually set forth in the following graph at right.
Let me walk you through this quickly.
If you have 150 qualified donors, in our experience, there should be three donor quality tiers:
- The A donors who are your top-tier, high-capacity, high-inclination donors. They contribute above average gifts and make up almost half of the dollar value of your caseload. We think this group should be the smallest group of donors on your caseload, somewhere between 10 percent to 15 percent, and contribute almost half of the total caseload value.
- The B donors are that group of donors who represent the medium contribution of your caseload. In the example above, they are the $5,000 giver. There are more of them — 40 percent to 50 percent — and they contribute over a third of the caseload value.
- The C donors are that group of donors who are the low end of your caseload contributing the lowest average amounts.
Here are the big points of this chart:
- You should have a top-tier group of donors who you have identified as having the inclination and capacity to give five-, six- and seven-figure gifts to your organization. Make it a priority to figure out who these folks are. And spend a greater portion of your time with them.
- You should have two levels of donors below that top tier. Those who have promise to move up into the top tier, the B donors, and those who don't, the C donors.
- Once you have figured this out, manage your time and attention to fit this reality.
This is really all back to that simple concept we all have heard over and over again: the 80/20 rule which says the majority of the result comes from the minority of the effort. Or the majority of the revenue comes from the minority of the donors.
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.