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In the world of annual giving, fundraising metrics are standard fare. However, many nonprofits struggle to establish the same disciplines for their major giving program as those found in annual giving—even though the stakes are often higher.

For example, just a 10 percent decline in the number of major gift donors can result in a 30 percent (or more) decline in fundraising revenue. Who can afford to leave the results up to chance when there’s a potential revenue swing of that magnitude on the table?

In order to avoid that potential issue, there needs to be an accountability system in place for your major giving program. Without one, expectations are often unclear, strategy is often misguided, and goals are unmet.

10 Things Every Nonprofit Should Know about Gift Officer Accountability

If you’re ready to establish an accountability system that sets up your major gift officers for success and helps you maximize your major giving efforts, here are 10 things you should know:

  1. If you want to develop a successful major giving program, focus on building a lasting infrastructure that can adapt to changing personnel. (tweet that)
  2. Securing major gifts takes multiple steps and thus demands a system that measures each step toward a major gift. (tweet that)
  3. What does a “typical” major donor look like? Information beyond one’s financial capacity tells the real story. (tweet that)
  4. Every potential major donor goes through six key stages: Discovery, Early Cultivation, Mid-Cultivation, Ready to Solicit, Proposal Pending, and Stewardship. (tweet that)
  5. The best formula to maximize your major donor portfolio is 30 percent discovery prospects, 40 percent cultivation prospects, and 30 percent ready-to-solicit prospects. (tweet that)
  6. Maintaining too many existing Stewardship relationships can have a detrimental impact on your gift officer’s ability to cultivate new donors. (tweet that)
  7. Not all gift officers should have a perfectly balanced portfolio. For example, you may choose to give younger gift officers more Discovery Prospects. (tweet that)
  8. You don’t need sophisticated software or financial models to determine your major giving goals. (tweet that)
  9. Your Annual Major Giving Goal = Weighted Value of All Open Proposals + Projected Revenue of “New Proposals” (tweet that)
  10. The success of your major giving program is only as great as the accountability you have in place to manage it. (tweet that)
 Are you ready to establish an accountability system for your major gift officers?

Whether you’re a nonprofit leader or a major gift officer, it’s a lot easier to sleep at night when clear metrics exist that are directly tied to the financial goals of the organization. Before you can dive deep into your major giving program, prospects must be identified, individual donor cultivation status must be determined, prospects must be assigned to gift officers, and realistic goals must be set.

What things are you already doing to set up your major gift officers for success?