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4 Solutions To Set Your Major Gift Officers Up for Success

Holly Condon July 7, 2022

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Fundraising Automation
Over the past few years, the importance of technology in fundraising has only intensified. Whether to continue connecting with supporters remotely, enable collaboration between on-site and off-site employees, or research innovative funding opportunities during times of economic hardship, technology is essential to bring in needed donations for your cause.

This is especially true when it comes to major gift fundraising.

Major gift cultivation is precise. Officers have to follow specific moves management processes, conduct intensive prospect research, and use predictive analytics to make the perfect gift ask. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss four technology solutions that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your nonprofit’s major gift officers, including:

  • Major Gift-Specific CRM Solutions
  • Paperless Document Management System
  • Prospect Research Solutions
  • Matching Gift Tool

Major gift officers play a crucial role in your organization, considering many organizations expect up to 80% of their total gifts to come from major donors. It naturally follows that you’d want to equip officers with the tools they need to be successful.

Major Gift-Specific CRM Solutions

DNL OmniMedia’s guide to Blackbaud fundraising performance management details a few alarming statistics about major gift management, including that:

  • 60% of the best major gift prospects aren’t on a nonprofit’s radar.
  • Less than 50% of major gift officers are highly productive.

These statistics suggest that there are significant opportunities that major gift officers may overlook. The guide offers a few reasons why this could be happening:

  • Only 37% of major gift officers used their constituent relationship management (CRM) solution for prospect cultivation.
  • 79% of major gift data is never entered into the nonprofit’s CRM.
  • 71% of major gift officers note that too much time is spent on data entry.

To summarize, many major gift officers aren’t performing to their highest potential and in fact, may be overlooking key prospects. This is likely happening because they’re avoiding using their organization’s CRM for data collection because it feels inconvenient and like an ineffective use of their time.

There is a multitude of reasons why your organization should encourage major gift officers to actively use your CRM in fundraising. For one, technology can help officers manage the many moving parts of moves management and ensure no “moves” fall to the wayside when stewarding a key prospect. 

Further, up-to-date major gift data in your CRM allows you to closely monitor the success of your major gift program and ensure your organization is on track to meeting its fundraising goals. 

Lastly, if a major gift officer leaves your organization, prospect data in your CRM allows you to continue stewarding that officer’s connections— without that data, the officer could leave your organization and take all of the knowledge of their prospects with them.

Needless to say, it’s in your organization’s best interest to make your CRM an enticing tool for major gift officers. You can do that by investing in major gift-specific solutions. For example, Blackbaud Fundraiser Performance Management is a CRM overlay that can sit on any CRM solution, Blackbaud or otherwise. It equips major gift officers with tools such as:

  • Focused prospecting, including built-in custom predictive modeling.
  • Moves management, including notifications and reminders for upcoming “moves” and research to help officers understand the ideal proposal to share with various prospects.
  • Peer benchmarking, allowing team members to understand their progress against other officers in a similar position.

Further, it’s a cloud-based solution, so officers can easily access needed data even when they’re working in the field. With a solution such as this, you encourage major gift officers to use your CRM by making it a useful tool that’s tailored to their needs (rather than a clunky solution that slows them down and hinders their productivity.)

Paperless Document Management System

There are numerous documents and contracts shared between major gift officers and prospects. Asking officers to manually track documents can quickly bog down their schedules, slow down their productivity, and create security challenges.

With a user-friendly document management system, you can transition your major gift team to paperless procedures securely and conveniently. For example, PairSoft equips nonprofits with automated document management tools, including the ability to:

  • Scan documents and capture data into your document management system.
  • Integrate the solution with email and other applications to easily compile documents across solutions.
  • Annotate and redact information in documents.
  • Search documents to find the exact information you’re seeking.

Beyond convenience, paperless document management can have other significant benefits for your major gift officers. For example, rather than each officer having their own unique processes for managing documents, records are kept secure in one system and handled using a standardized workflow. This keeps major donor data secure. 

Prospect Research Solutions

Prospect research is a crucial first step for any major gift officer. Without an understanding of the affinity a prospect has for your organization and their financial capacity to make a large gift, a major gift officer could spend significant time pursuing prospects that aren’t the right fit for your organization (or, overlooking those who are).

Prospect research solutions were created to equip major gift officers with the data and analytical tools to evaluate individuals who are on your nonprofit’s radar. So, as a baseline, any prospect research solution you invest in should give your team access to a significant database of wealth and philanthropic supporter data.

However, Double the Donation’s listing of prospect research tools includes a wide variety of tools that go beyond simple databases. For example, there are solutions for:

  • Full-service prospect research
  • Research-based nonprofit consulting
  • AI-driven predictive analytics
  • Donor relationship mapping
  • Net worth analysis

Ideally, any prospect research solution that you invest in should integrate with your CRM for easy transfer of information across the two solutions. This makes the prospect research solution a convenient addition to your tools that empowers officers to more effectively research prospects.

Matching Gift Tool

Matching gifts are a way for your organization to receive two gifts for the work of soliciting one. Essentially, these programs involve a company making a gift to your organization to match one made by their employee.

Often, nonprofits seek out matching gifts for small and mid-sized donations. However, a number of large corporations will match major gifts as well. For example, the following companies will match large gifts:

  • Soros Fund Management, up to $300,000
  • State Street Corporation, up to $35,000
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb, up to $30,000
  • MBIA, up to $40,00

These are just a few examples of companies that will match major gifts. It’s worthwhile for your major gift officers to check for gift match eligibility each time a gift is secured — after all, in the case of Soros Fund Management, it could mean a $300,000 gift becomes a $600,000 gift.

The easiest way to help major gift officers research matching gifts is by equipping them with matching gift software. They’ll be able to access a database of information about matching gift programs and search for donors’ eligibility internally, access information about programs where they exist, and walk into conversations with major donors prepared.

The right technology can not only save time for your major gift officers, but also help them better identify top prospects, manage moves, store documents, and increase gift size. For your organization, investing in technology that officers want to use will give you more insight into their efforts and access to key data in the instance that an officer leaves your organization.

If you’re looking to elevate your major gift technology stack, PairSoft has multiple solutions that directly integrate with the top fundraising ERPs. Get a demo to learn more today.

Holly Condon

With over 25 years' experience in the SaaS space, Holly brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the table. She previously held leadership roles at PairSoft's subsidiary PaperSave and resides in South Carolina with her family.

View all posts by Holly Condon
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