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5 Signs Your Donor Portfolio Needs To Be Optimized

Relationship manager speaking to donor from donor portfolio

Donor portfolios enable nonprofit organizations to be more efficient in soliciting gifts. They provide each donor relationship manager with a specific list of donors that they are responsible for. They also help your organization use time, energy, and resources effectively.

However, if not properly done, donor portfolios can lead to inefficiency and lackluster outcomes. Unbalanced make it harder for your organization to earn gifts, while increasing the likeliness that your relationship managers may start to feel defeated and burnt out. This is why it is important for you to evaluate portfolio management to identify areas that need improvement. Here are five signs that indicate your donor portfolio needs optimization.


5 Signs That Your Donor Portfolio Needs To Be Optimized


1.       Too many donors assigned to one relationship manager

One issue that is often overlooked in portfolio management is the size of each donor portfolio. Most of the time, relationship managers are assigned more donors than they can manage. Many mistakenly equate more prospects in a list to more gifts earned. But this is actually counterproductive.

While there is no specific industry standard, in our experience, you should aim to have a donor portfolio that consists of 150 donors. This number should be more of a cap than a minimum. Even a list of 50 to 100 prospects can overwhelm a gift officer who also handles grant proposals, events coordination, and other tasks.


2.       A relationship manager is mostly assigned new donors

Your donor portfolio will be unbalanced if one manager is only assigned or mainly assigned donors who have never given directly to your organization. This is unfair for the manager, as cultivating new prospects entails more work. If this happens regularly, it may lead to poor performance and lack of motivation.

Keep in mind that purchasing a gala or golf ticket does not count as a direct gift. Convincing these individuals to donate a major or estate gift will require the same effort as convincing those who have no previous connection to your organization.


3.       Contact information is missing or not up to date

Another problem that can lead to inefficiencies, is assigning donors that lack full and up-to-date contact information. Without basic contact information, a relationship manager is unable to effectively do their job: manage and develop the relationship. Instead of spending their time connecting with donors, they now must spend additional time and effort finding the correct information — not to mention the time lost because they were trying to reach the wrong person.

This is another sign of an unbalanced portfolio that can lead to frustrations. Best practice is to only assign donors after their contact information has been completed and validated.


4.       There is a large discrepancy in the average score among donor portfolios

The average donor score of a portfolio can easily identify portfolios that are uneven, and arguably unfair. DC Analytics scores donors based off four key behavioral traits to determine their likeliness to give. In the case of DC Analytics scores, if one relationship manager has an average score of 30, while their colleagues have an average score in the teens, then that is a red flag that top donors are not being equally assigned.

This may be strategic (assigning the top donors to the best relationship managers), but you should be mindful when doing so, because you may inadvertently set up the rest of your team for failure, which can contribute to high turnover. Equal opportunity in the workforce starts with equal and balanced portfolios.


5.       You’re not meeting target outcomes

Every nonprofit organization must set target goals for their fundraising programs. If you are not meeting these outcomes, there may be a need to re-evaluate your donor portfolios. Chances are, if you go back through the previous four signs, you will identify why your team is not meeting its targets. If you are still having a hard time figuring out the root cause, then contact Donor Compass™ for a free consultation.


Ideas for Donor Portfolio Optimization

If you spot any of the above signs in your organization, here are some ideas for optimizing donor portfolios.

1. Less is more. Keep your donor portfolio to a minimum. This will allow your relationship managers to focus on developing strategies for cultivating prospects and building deeper relationships with existing donors.


2. Create balanced lists. When organizing your portfolios, sort and filter your list of prospects. Make sure that each assigned list includes an appropriate mix of prospects in different tiers.


3. Evaluate and improve. Although you may already have a reliable system that you have been using for years, take time to evaluate the performance of your donor portfolios. Monitor donor scores, prospect conversion, and gifts earned. Use insights from these to improve your portfolio.


Strive for Efficient Donor Portfolio Management

The success of donations depends greatly on your organization’s portfolio management. Building a strong prospective donor list and ensuring a balanced distribution among relationship managers can help you attain greater long-term success.

A balanced portfolio enables donor relationship managers to implement better fundraising and engagement strategies. Ultimately, this will help your organization grow revenue from donations and planned gifts, while increasing employee satisfaction.

Learn more about how Donor Compass™ can optimize your donor portfolios here.