Creating a Gift Officer Point System
Gift officers who think they can get by on luck or charm usually don’t make it very far. Sure, luck plays a part from time to time and being personable is important, but you also need to put in the work. You need to find prospects, get out there and meet with them, and get to know them. Then, when you’ve laid the groundwork and listened to their interests and identified their passions, you’ll be ready to make the ask.
Many well-intentioned gift officers can get overwhelmed by the prospect of getting out there and doing the work. They become lost in the maze of ongoing tasks and meetings. They often spin their wheels doing too much of one thing and not enough of another, or they get distracted by things that aren’t actually that important.
Setting goals can help, but too often goal setting looks only at the big picture over a longer period of time—for example, conducting 150 visits per year or closing 25 leadership-level gifts during the spring semester. These “macro-goals” are important when it comes to performance planning, but they can also be overwhelming and end up hampering action on a day-to-day basis.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or in need of goals that are a little more bite sized and easier to manage in the short term, consider creating a point system for yourself. The following system is based on Jeffery Fox’s model for productive salespeople, but it can also be incredibly helpful for fundraisers who want to be more focused and productive. It’s very simple, and it starts by considering the following four stages of donor cultivation and solicitation:
- Identifying a new prospect and/or confirming (through research) the prospect’s capacity or ability to make a significant gift
- Scheduling an appointment with a prospective donor
- Meeting with a prospect or donor face to face
- Securing a gift or pledge commitment from a donor
Then, as you go about your day-to-day work as a gift officer, keep track of your accomplishments in these four areas and give yourself points for completing each one. Assign one point to stage 1, two points to stage 2, three points to stage 3, and four points to stage 4. Then make it your goal to collect at least 4 points every day in any combination. If you do this, you’ll soon find that your level of focus has increased, as have your productivity and overall job satisfaction.
It’s easy for gift officers to become overwhelmed by all their daily tasks and obligations. A point system can help you to stay on track and focused, making longer term goals easier to achieve. Give it a try.
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