Engagement Calling Metrics for Lead Outreach Associates Tasked With Arranging Meetings With Major Donor & Legacy Donor Prospects

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Engagement calling, not cold calling!

About 1 1/2 years ago I introduced the concept of Engagement Calling as the best way to land appointments with highly qualified, major gift donor prospects (much better than cold calling). But back then I failed to provide metrics for managing the process. So, today, I’ll lay them out for you.

But before we dive into that, it’s important to remember that most supporters will not be ready to make a gift right away. And many might not even be ready to engage with you on a personal, 1-to-1 basis. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to be empathetic to them and where they reside along the consideration continuum. You’ve got to remind yourself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. First recognize where each supporter resides in the consideration process along with how that matches up with your internal operations. In other words, you should probably categorize folks something like this:

  • Identified supporters– Perhaps they have donated in the past or signed up for communications. However, they are usually not yet leads and probably not ready for outreach.
  • Qualified supporters– These folks have leaned in by taking the survey and have answered questions in a way that leads you to believe they are likely to want to build a deeper relationship with a representative of the organization, they are passionate about the mission, and they have potential to make impactful gifts. Plus they have told you how they’d like to give and where they are in the consideration process. They have given you great clues about their capacity via verbatims provided in surveys (Note: We have found that kind of self-provided information to be exponentially more reliable than wealth screening data).
  • Qualified supporters in cultivation– This category includes the supporters that were qualified and also opted-in for a deeper relationship, meaning they opted-in for cultivation. Or they stated that they’d be likely to talk to you. Again, the best way to capture this information is through the use of a donor survey but you can use other lead generation offers too.
  • Highly-qualified ‘outreach-ready’ leads– These supporters have met the criteria outlined above and have engaged recently. Call ’em right away and your likelihood of having a meaningful conversation will increase.

NOTE: You can, indeed, make outreach to all of these categories. However, your success rate will increase exponentially if you start at the bottom of this list and work your way up from there.

And now the calling metrics.

Having covered those categories, let’s look at the metrics you should measure as your outbound Lead Outreach Associates begin their Engagement Calling activities:

  • # of outbound non-solicitous emails sent including links to value-oriented
    • # of opens
    • # of clicks (If you cannot track your individual email clicks you should consider employing an application such as Yesware)
    • # of replies
  • # of dials (Consider employing an automated dialing app like Phoneburner)
    • # of voicemails left
    • # of returned calls
    • # of conversations
  • # of appointments set with a gift officer

Don’t forget to score supporters after a gift officer’s first ‘meeting’ (call or visit)    

Of course setting a meeting for relationship-building that will lead to a solicitation and a gift is important. But it’s essential that each meeting is worthwhile — an efficient use of the gift officer’s time. Remember, time is money and gift officer salaries tend to be high. So, in order to be good stewards of donor dollars, fundraising staff should spend their time wisely, with the most highly qualified supporters who are passionate, wealthy and interested in learning how they can support the mission.

The best way to ensure that the meetings arranged by a Lead Outreach Associate are highly qualified is to have the gift officers provide feedback after their calls/visits. In other words, after a gift officer spends time with the supporter, they should score the event to further qualify the supporter or to disqualify them.

Remember, it’s ok to throw a fish back in the water now and again. This feedback will help the Lead Outreach Associate connect the dots between their initial conversations and the final results, eventually helping them fine-tune their outreach efforts and conversation skills.

MarketSmart recommends scoring on a scale of 1 to 10 as follows:

  • Level of passion for the mission (Highly passionate to no passion at all)
  • Capacity to support the cause with impactful gifts (very wealthy, moderately wealthy, average, or not able to make an impact)
  • Consideration stage (ready to take action now, later or never)

I hope that helps all of you out there making calls each day.

Make no mistake, if you don’t measure what you’re doing, you’ll never be able to improve upon your efforts.



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