Your MGO Must Have Admin Support
The value add of a major gift officer (MGO) is what the MGO does to fulfill a qualified donor’s passions and interests.
It is not sitting in meetings in the office, plowing through piles of paperwork and spreadsheets or doing a bunch of research.
But that is exactly what most MGOs are forced to do because managers and authority figures have not understood that spending the money to give their MGO admin support is the best investment they can make. You might think this last statement is either a little dramatic or just plain false. It is neither. The fact is that the cost of providing admin support to an MGO actually increases the return on investment (ROI) of the major gift effort.
But many managers and finance folks are more focused on keeping head count low in the organization. And this prevents them from providing the very thing a MGO needs to succeed.
Think about this. Look at how much time it takes to do the following:
- Research donor giving history, connections and networks.
- Maintain the planning calendar for each qualified donor on your caseload.
- Prepare and send mailings, emails at the MGO's direction.
- Remind the MGO of the major donor touches that the plan requires.
- Handle all the logistics of donor contacts, including answering the phone in the MGO's absence.
- Create and maintain donor files.
- Secure internal and external resources for donor communications (This is huge).
- Ensure receipts and thank you communication go out on time.
- Keep track of and report on activity statistics.
- Produce monthly reports for management.
- Provide analysis of donor giving.
- Assure integrity of donor financial data on reports.
- Handle the MGO's expense report and monitor the budget.
And the list can go on forever.
When you sit down and think about this, you, as an MGO, could spend your entire life sitting in the office just doing this work and not relating to the qualified donors on your caseload. And that, my friend, is what is wrong with most major gift efforts in most organizations.
Jeff and I don’t know why it is so difficult for authority figures and budget managers to understand this basic point: There are two major categories of effort as relates major gifts.
- Meaningful connection time. This is that time spent with the donor to help fulfill the donor's passions and interests.
- Back-office time. This is that time spent keeping everything going (the list above) to make sure No. 1 (meaningful connection time) happens as often as possible.
Seems pretty basic to me.
OK, so the authority figure has become convinced that there is a need to support you with admin support. That is good news, but that authority figure wants to spread the cost a bit, like to another MGO. Great! If you need to start with one admin person to two MGOs, that is fine. At least you are being supported. We often suggest one admin support for two MGOs although a one-to-one ratio can be justified economically.
Don’t wait to get yourself supported. It will change everything!
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.