Soliciting Managed Prospects for Year-End Gifts

Posted on 03/09/2021

Most annual giving professionals spend the final weeks of a fiscal year vigorously looking for every last donor and every last dollar they can find. Let no stone go unturned! Year-end activities range from simple tasks like updating your voicemail greeting or email signature with a reminder that the end is near, to more involved undertakings like calling people with open pledges or sending targeted appeals to prior year donors asking them to renew.

One of the most effective—yet often overlooked—tools for increasing year-end support may be right in front of you: the major gift officer. Their portfolios are filled with your institution’s best prospects. Depending on the size of your organization, this could represent hundreds if not thousands of potential annual donors. Needless to say, major gift officers can be an annual giving professional’s best friend during the year-end blitz.

But don’t expect them to come to you. Unlike annual giving, major giving strategies tend to take a longer-term view. Major gift officers may not be as focused on (or motivated by) fiscal-year goals and deadlines. That means that the burden is on you to motivate them to help. One way to do this is to send them a email that includes a report showing how their prospect portfolios have performed in terms of annual gift participation. Consider the following example:

Dear Colleague:

The end of the fiscal year is coming up soon. Thanks to the good work of you and others, we are on pace for a strong finish. However, there are many managed prospects who have still not made a gift or pledge payment this fiscal year. You can see how your own portfolio has performed on the spreadsheet below.

Our primary goal is, with few exceptions, to ensure that all managed prospects are asked to make an annual gift (or pledge payment) before the end of the fiscal year. Ideally, these asks will be made in person over the next few weeks. If not, we would like to encourage you to call each of your prospects. As a last resort, you may consider sending them a letter or email.

The annual giving team will be monitoring progress carefully and will be providing updates regularly. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if there is anything we can do to support you in these solicitations. Many thanks for your help!

-The Annual Giving Team

The closer you get to the end of the fiscal year, the fewer options there are for securing annual gifts from donors. While it’s important to send broad-based appeals and reach out to your own prospects and volunteers, it’s equally important to work through others. Major gift officers can be a tremendous source of help for annual giving programs. They have knowledge of and relationships with your institution’s best prospects. And while annual giving may not always be at the top of their mind, a little reminder from you in the final months of the fiscal year can have a big impact on your institution and its annual fund.

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This article has been adapted from the book Ideas for Annual Giving by Dan Allenby. Copyright (c) 2016 Council for Advancement and Support of Education. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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