Sunday, December 23, 2007

Do the math

Like anyone else who does a job where the bottom line depends on getting out and seeing folks, I have goals that I'm expected to reach. They start out looking kind of benign. It's really two simple goals: 18-22 substantive contacts per month, and two contacts per year with the fifty top prospects in my pool. Oh, and there's a large dollar figure that our office is supposed to raise overall, but I don't really worry about that much.*

That doesn't sound too bad, right? I decided to apply my analytical self to figuring out exactly what those goals mean. Let's do the math, shall we?

18-22 contacts per month adds up to 264 or so for the whole year.

100 of those are taken up with my top fifty folks. I should be having two or three substantive contacts with different members of my top fifty prospect pool per week. I should also be able to move some of these top fifty toward some kind of meaningful gift, one assumes. Of course, in the absence of meaningful guidelines on who should constitute a top fifty prospect, I could totally neglect my stewardship obligations and only go after new people, or waste 100 visits on people who are perhaps not a good use of my time, or just go on visits who are fun to see (three-martini lunches, picking up the tab, exotic locations, what have you). I know better than to do that, but you can see how it could present a bit of a problem from a management point of view.

164 contacts are left to cultivate new relationships and advance people towards gifts that will make my employer happy. I need to be making at least three or four visits a week to reach this goal, and I'll need to try to reach many (many, many) more people than that to have any hope of getting there.

And so that's what I'll be doing. I know what I need to do: Develop my own criteria for "top fifty" and dump people who meet those criteria into my pool. Get appointments with them and any other human being who will see me, and don't stop trying to do this until my calendar is full from now until next Christmas. It sounds like one of those "if you do the work, it gets done" situations.

Does everyone here do this kind of analysis, I wonder?

* Why don't I worry about the dollar goal? Frankly, it's out of my hands. My job is to figure out who has money and interest in the place, and then get out and see those people. I cannot make them give money to me if they are not predisposed to want to get involved. I cannot make people who love the place rich so that they will have money to give. I cannot cause the market to go up and leave people with huge taxable gains at the end of the year that they're dying to give to my employer. These things are simply out of my control. What I can control is:

1. Knowing who has given in the past and taking good care of them so they might want to give again.

2. Treating everyone with an existing non-financial relationship to the place well, so those with wealth will think of it as a good place for their money and dreams.

3. Staying alert to opportunities.

That's pretty much it. If I'm spending my time seeing the right people (those with money, affinity and inclination to give), and I'm giving them the right experiences, I think the money part will take care of itself.

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