Major Donor Management

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

This article is aimed at anyone managing the day to day tasks related to major individual giving (prospecting, cultivation and/or stewardship) and managing the relationships with those prospects and donors. We’ll go through the key aspects of this work and how you can leverage Spektrix tools to engage and cultivate prospects and donors in the most effective, efficient, and personalised ways possible.

We'll work through the following sections which mirror the general stages of traditional Moves Management/donor cultivation (you may also notice that it corresponds somewhat to your Spektrix Campaign stages):


NOTE: this article assumes a basic knowledge of Spektrix and particularly the Opportunities Interface, but we’ve also linked out to relevant articles where possible so that you can investigate how to use each feature if you’re not familiar with it. Alternatively, you may want to check out these other articles for a more detailed explanation of Spektrix fundraising system concepts:

Prospecting and research

One of the most important steps in cultivating major donors is finding the right people to target. The profile of an ideal major donor will vary from organisation to organisation, but regardless of how you determine a potential donor, you can use Spektrix to identify the right patrons in your database who would make for good prospects. By using the data that you already have, you can find your most engaged patrons with a propensity to give - without needing an external prospecting service.

For a more detailed review of how to leverage Spektrix specifically for prospecting, see the presentation on Prospecting your Database for the Next Big Donors from the 2018 Spektrix Workshops.

As an example, you might  target specific customers based on a combination of their attendance and donation history - such as customers who have donated during the current fiscal year and who have attended at least three events in the same time period.

You can create a Customer List combining Booking and Purchasing segments to identify who those customers are. Here’s what that might look like in your Customer List Builder (see here for a more detailed walk through of Customer List functionality in Spektrix):

To narrow the list down to the top customers to reach out to first, run the Customer List through a report (such as the standard Donations Report) to determine who has the highest cumulative giving, and start with those at the top of the list. 

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For more granular information on an individual level, look at that person’s Customer Record or Timeline in the Opportunities Interface for a full picture of their interactions with your organisation.

NOTE: remember that Customer Lists in Spektrix are real-time snapshots based on your chosen criteria, so they may change on a regular basis depending on customers’ behaviour.

Finally, keep track of your prospecting research notes by utilising tools such as the purple note on the customer’s record in the Opportunities Interface (which is only viewable to Opportunities users). You could also create Tags or Custom Attributes to keep track of the customers in your pool, or other different groups of prospects you’ll want to easily group together later.

Ultimately, the more information you capture in Spektrix in this stage, the less work you and your fundraising team will have to do later to keep track of your constituents when pulling reports, creating Opportunities, sending mailings, or otherwise engaging with them.

Involvement and cultivation

Once you’ve identified your curated pool of prospects, you’re ready to create a cultivation plan for reaching out to set up calls, meetings, or other touch points to build relationships with and engage them further. Here are a few ways you can streamline and maximise your efforts:

Bulk create Opportunities and Activities
Once you have your prospects together in a Customer List (by using your segments, Tags, or otherwise), you can:

  • Output the list as a CSV or Excel file to view a list of names for further investigation.
  • Set up an integrated email or a standard mailing.
  • Run through a report to analyse customer behaviour.
  • Bulk apply a Tag.

One great option specifically for fundraisers is the Bulk create Opportunities option, which allows you to create the same template Opportunity - and an Activity, if you want - for everyone on the Customer List. Find out more information about how this works in this article.

As an example, you might have a Customer List looking for engaged patrons who have high capacity to give, in order to cultivate them each for a major gift for an upcoming campaign. Here’s what your Opportunity might look like to start:

Make sure to choose the correct Campaign, Sub-Campaign, or Sub-Sub Campaign for all of the Opportunities you’re creating (read more about Campaigns specifically in this article), as this field cannot be changed once an Opportunity is created.

You’ll also want to select the appropriate Current Stage (i.e. Campaign stage). At this point in the process, you might put these Opportunities in the Cultivate stage, or something similar at your organisation that indicates that you have identified the prospect and are putting a plan in place to ask them for a gift. This field, as well as all the others except for Campaign, can be edited later on an individual basis.

By ticking the Create Activity… option at the bottom, you could also create a corresponding Activity as the first step of your cultivation plan. For example:

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These steps will create identical Opportunities and Activities for each customer on the list, which you can then customise per person in the Opportunities Interface.

Add multiple Activities to Opportunities
Similarly, you can create Activities in bulk once you’ve created corresponding Opportunities. Activities are the best way to manage your communication and interactions with prospects, both as a historical record and as a future to-do list. Any time you’re completing multiple versions of the same task with a group of people (e.g. sending a letter, making phone calls), adding Activities in bulk will save you the time of logging those actions individually. See this article for details of how to create Activities in bulk, and the screenshot below for an example of how you can add Activities to multiple Opportunities:

To best take advantage of Activities functionality, once you complete an Activity make sure to mark it as complete and then add a new (incomplete) Activity for the next steps. You could also get in touch with the Spektrix Support Team to ask about creating a custom Activities report that shows incomplete Activities assigned to you.  

To keep on top of your or your team’s workflow, you could even attach this report to a Report Schedule so that you automatically receive regular emails reminding you of your upcoming tasks. These practices together will ensure you’re always on top of your to-do list and can keep track of where you are with your entire prospect pool, all at one glance.

Track progress
As you cultivate prospects and complete Activities, make sure to move their Opportunities on to the corresponding Campaign stage. For example, once you’ve received a gift, move it your Thank stage and create an Activity to remind yourself to send a formal ‘thank you’ letter to the donor.  Once you’ve done that, close the Opportunity and open a new one for next year’s Individuals campaign, when you plan to ask them for an uplift.

This ensures you always have an accurate snapshot of your progress with all of your Opportunities, and you can easily see where you need to direct your attention to meet your target.

In general, as time progresses your Opportunities should move across the stages from first to last as you build relationships and make asks of your prospects. If you’re halfway through the fiscal year and most of your Opportunities are still in the initial Research stage, that would indicate that you need to spend more time going out and making asks to get your cultivation plans going!

For more individualised detail (maybe you’re prepping for a donor meeting and want all of that person’s information at your fingertips), remember that the Opportunities and Activities you create will show up in the Opportunities Interface in your dashboards and on each customer’s timeline, as well as in their Donor Profile Report.

Save time
There are lots of ways in which Spektrix can be used to streamline your processes and help you save time. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use custom tabs in the Opportunities Interface to save commonly-used searches and minimise the number of clicks it takes you to get to the information you need, such as all open Opportunities assigned to you, all incomplete Activities assigned to you, or any other common views.
  • Use your regular email client to save time by using the BCC email to Activities feature, which allows you to automatically log emails to prospects and donors as Activities.
  • If part of your cultivation plan includes inviting your major donors and prospects to a fundraising event, make use of the Invitation Management function to track donors’ RSVPs and guests.

These tools will allow you to work smarter, not harder, and spend your time where it matters most: engaging with your prospects and donors!

Making and confirming the ask

As you move forward in your cultivation plans, you will have adjustments to make to your Opportunities depending on conversations and interactions with prospects. You can always change the Opportunity fields (everything except Campaign), such as Target Amount, Ask Amount and Expected Close Date, which are all subject to change.

As mentioned above, moving your Opportunities through the different Campaign stages as you progress will help you get a snapshot of how your work is distributed, right from your Opportunities Dashboard (remember that these green numbers indicate how many open Opportunities are in each stage):

Whether or not you secure the gift, we recommend closing each Opportunity in whatever stage it was in at the point of finishing. For example, maybe you have a prospect in the Cultivate stage, and when you asked them for a gift they declined because they’re in the middle of a major life event - but could potentially be interested in giving in the future. If you close the Opportunity in the Cultivate stage, you’ll remember next year that that’s as far as you got with that prospect.

Either way, it’s worth making a note (via the blue sticky note) on the Opportunity when closing it to provide some further context about when and why it was closed. This will help you to make your future asks more tailored and informed.

When a major gift successfully comes in, you can process the donation and attach it to the corresponding Opportunity (and Pledge, if relevant) directly from the Opportunities Interface. You might even create a new future Opportunity and/or Activity right away to set up your plan for the next ask for that prospect as you steward their initial gift.

By capturing your real-life work in Spektrix as accurately and thoroughly as possible, you set yourself and your whole Development team up for success with information that allows you to interact with your high-level prospects and donors armed with personalised insight and historical context.

Stewardship

An important part of the ongoing cultivation of your donors is making sure that they continue to feel inspired to give! In this section we’ll look at a few ways you can use Spektrix to ensure your donors feel special and recognised at any touch point with your organisation.

Use Auto Tags 
Auto Tags allow you to automatically identify major donors (as well as potential donors) based on a variety of criteria. Read more about setting up and using Auto Tags in this article.

For example, you could create a group of Tags based on giving level:

Or, based on an Opportunities segment:

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Tags will help you capture up-to-date donor activity, and can also power a variety of tools, some of which we've included below.

Dynamic content 
Customise your integrated emails based on Spektrix Tags and Attributes by displaying different information to different customers. You can read more about how to set up Dynamic Content in this article.

For example, add or change a block of text (or any other piece of media) in an email with a personalised message targeted to your donors, thanking them for their commitment to your organisation and mission.

Customer Groups 
Customer Groups allow you to flag customers who are part of particular groups - such as major donors, board members, or other VIPs - to your box office staff. This ensures your most important patrons get a warm welcome anytime they interact with your organisation. Read more about Customer Groups in this article.

Customer List Schedules 
Get lists of your customers delivered directly to your inbox on a regular basis according to whatever criteria you want, by setting up a Customer List Schedule. Find out more about how to set this up in this article.

For example, if you’ve captured your Board members’ birthdays in Spektrix, you could schedule a list of anyone whose birthday is coming up soon, so you can send them a handwritten note.

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These are just a few ways you can leverage Spektrix tools and data to build a personalised relationship with each of your customers and ensure they feel connected to your organisation and motivated to give. If you come up with any other creative ways to engage your prospects and donors, let us know!

As always, if you have further questions about best practice for fundraisers or more technical queries on how to manage your work and build the best relationships possible with your customers, please get in touch with the Spektrix Support Team. We’re always interested to hear how you’re utilising the fundraising tools in Spektrix.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this article and anything you think it could do better, please fill in this form and let us know - all feedback is useful!

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