Income can vary considerably depending on how a development office allocates its time. Discipline in your time management is critical to fundraising and engagement success. By focusing just 10% more of your time on outward-facing activity, and prioritising major gifts in this time, you could see a dramatic shift in your office’s ROI.
Make time for ‘outward-facing’ activity
We examined the relationship between the time spent on different activities and fundraising results. The six activities were grouped into “outward-facing” and “inward-facing” categories.
Outward-facing activities included: major gifts and legacies; regular giving/annual fund fundraising; and alumni relations (including communications and events).
Inward-facing activities included: prospect research, database management, and gift administration; office management and administration; other development activities; and other school activities.
Where development offices spent 50% or more of their time on outward-facing activity, the average annual philanthropic income was £549,000 compared with £485,000 for those that spent 50% or more of their time on inward-facing activities.
Breaking it down further still, within the group spending 50% or more of their time on outward-facing activities, those who focused on major gifts raised £884,000 per year, those who focused on alumni relations raised £465,000, and schools focusing on regular giving raised just £230,000.
Focus on major gift activity for significant growth in ROI
Major gifts take time and require a proactive approach, so they will inevitably fall to the bottom of the to-do list when there is a calendar of events, communications, and other reactive activities that need to take place.
It is crucial to make time for major gifts. Development offices that focus their time here raise nearly 60% more than the average school.
Schools raising more than £1 million invest 20% of their time in major gifts and 28% on fundraising overall, with 29% of time spent on alumni relations.
Schools raising less than £500,000 spend less than 10% of their time on major gift fundraising.
10% of an office’s time on major gifts is a tipping point
A minimum of 10% of a development office’s time on major gifts is needed to achieve greater fundraising results, but by re-allocating 20% of your time from regular to major gifts activity, your income could grow exponentially.
This article is part of a series providing our analysis and key takeaways from the 2016-2018 Graham-Pelton/IDPE Benchmarking Report. Read other articles or sign-up for our email list to have the latest news on the benchmarking report and other fundraising tips sent straight to your inbox.