Top 3 reasons why major gift or legacy gift officers don’t have enough face-to-face meetings with donors

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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.

I hear a lot of people complaining about gift officers not meeting with enough donors.

Usually, these complaints come from people who don’t really do much face-to-face fundraising on their own. Instead, interestingly, they manage people who do.

But, sadly, they fail to realize that the top reasons why their staff are not meeting with enough donors face-to-face is because either:

  1. They failed to hire the right people for the job in the first place;
  2. They failed to provide them with highly qualified leads;
  3. They failed to train them on how to set appointments.

So, if you’re one of the complainers, ask yourself if you have the right staff or did you hire the first warm body that came through the door and promised to do the job? I know, hiring is a pain in the ass. But if you do it right, most of your other problems go away.

Ask yourself, are you providing them with highly qualified leads or are you telling them to generate their own leads? Most fundraisers are not very good at generating leads. If you mention it to them they look at you funny. They tend to be focused on ‘outbound’ not ‘inbound.’ That’s old-school and it has got to change. You should be generating and providing them with highly qualified leads. If you aren’t, contact me!

And, ask yourself have you trained them properly on how to set appointments? Too many face-to-face fundraisers suck at this but they are great at building relationships and closing gifts. Don’t make them do the stuff they suck at! Hire someone else to do it or train them properly!

By the way, I’ve never met anyone in the sector explain how to do this well. Sad isn’t it? Most leaders and consultants in the sector simply have no idea how to set appointments. If you don’t either, you owe it to your staff to learn how or invest in some training.

Bottom line: If they are failing and you are their boss, it’s actually your fault. Have a nice day!

Related Posts:

>>3 simple ways fundraisers can improve their LinkedIn profiles to land more meetings and raise more money
>>11 props you can use to raise more money at face-to-face meetings


5 responses to “Top 3 reasons why major gift or legacy gift officers don’t have enough face-to-face meetings with donors”

  1. Art Stine says:

    Agree on all points. However, how many visits (per month, per year) is sufficient. I believe that this depends on a lot of factors, but most of my colleagues say that the emphasis on personal visits outweighs effective moves management, especially when the begin their work at the given nonprofit. For me, the goal is 12 per month. May I ask what others metric is for visits?

    • Greg Warner says:

      Hi Art-
      You’re wise to ask this. I think the most important metric is ‘quality’ as measured by movement through the consideration process. Management likes to look at the number of visits but 12 weak visits with unqualified supporters is much worse than one, single amazingly meaningful visit with a hyper-passionate, uber-qualified philanthropist.

      Quality over quantity!!

      Also, focusing on where they are in the consideration process is essential. It’s not about YOUR moves, it’s about the donors’. In other words, if you meet with 12 supporters who are ready to take action, that’s much better than 12 who are in the discovery stage.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Again, quality over quantity.

  2. Art Stine says:

    Makes perfect sense, Greg! Thanks!!!!


  3. Kendall M says:

    Great post today Greg! I don’t want to over simply this but the number of visits a development director makes doesn’t necessarily indicate success. The quality and depth of the relationship with the donor is what i believe is the biggest predictor of success. I have some donors I speak with or see monthly and others I only see once or twice a year. I am as successful with both bc it is based on what their level of interaction needs to be to stay connected. Of course they receive letters and an occasional news updates. That is a givien. But some folks would actually stop taking my calls if I pushed myself on them to make some sort of “quota”. The dollars raised is the best metric I use for anyone on my team.

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