We have used the MPL tool to run hundreds of campaigns and major gifts initiatives. It’s simple and powerful. Rate your top prospects to create a Master Prospect List in descending order of importance. Then focus all your time (literally) on your top ten prospects — you will be amazed by the results.
Each prospect receives a rating in each category 1-5 (5 being the highest). The sum weighted total of ratings in each of the five categories will give you the Qualified Prospect Index – You need to visit with anyone 90 and higher today!
Definition of Key Terms
Relationship Manager (RM)
This is the person within your organization that manages the relationship — does not have to be the point of contact but must responsible for thinking about this prospect every day.
This is a person, internal or external to your organization that has the closest relationship to the prospect.
This number is the prospect’s capacity to make a major gift – a gift level that is worthy of one-on-one time with a prospect. This is not an indication of what you think the prospect WILL invest in your organization – it is an indication of what you think the prospect COULD give.
This is an indication of the prospect’s relationship to your organization or to your cause. If this prospect is on your board it should be a five (5). If, for example, you are the American Cancer Society, and this prospect is a cancer survivor, the rating should be a five (5) even with no gift history.
5 – Specific interest in our organization or cause
4 – Heavily invested in our cause or within a sector or geography in which we operate
Generally timing is always a five (5) unless you have specific knowledge otherwise.
What is this prospect’s giving history to your organization? You might determine that a five (5) on the rating scale indicates lifetime giving of $100,000+ or ten consecutive years in your Leadership Society. Below is an example using higher numbers.
5 – Has given multiple lifetime gifts and/or has given $1M lifetime
4 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $100k lifetime
3 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $10k lifetime
2 – Has given 1 lifetime gift and/or has given $1k liftetime
1 – Has never given and/or has given less than $1k lifetime
Philanthropy (or Gut Feeling)
This is a measure of the prospect’s general willingness to give. Has he or she supported other organizations? Is it a foundation (5)? Do we have a good feeling about them? Give it a 5! This is also where I take into account the person who reaches out to us first or has said, “I want to help.” or “I want to do something big, can we talk?” Give that a 5 as well.
In our work with thousands of organizations, staff and volunteers, this is the most FREQUENTLY ASKED (BIG, BIG, BIG) QUESTION:
“WHERE DO WE FIND NEW PROSPECTS?”
MY ANSWER: THIS IS THE WRONG QUESTION!!!
It’s not about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS, it’s about the BEST PROSPECTS!
Why look for ‘New’ Prospects when you haven’t MAXIMIZED RELATIONSHIPS with your BEST and most QUALIFIED PROSPECTS!
FUNDING YOUR VISION is usually about your TOP 33 INVESTORS and perhaps your BEST 300 QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. Many of these top prospects are most likely sitting right in front of you… right now! (Not literally, but pretty darn close.)
The reason many of you are looking for ‘NEW’ prospects is because you believe:
“Our Old Prospects are tired of giving.”
“We have gone to the well too many times.”
“We can’t go back to our best prospects for more money.”
“We are taking advantage of our current relationship with our top prospects.”
To this, I would add 3 other thoughts coming from your current top givers that I also believe are very fair:
“I want you to get other people involved besides me.”
“I want you to broaden the base of support.”
“I don’t want to be the only one funding this organization or this project.”
While ‘expanding your base’ and ‘bringing in new relationships’ is important to your organization, it’s not the ‘ANSWER’ to your funding challenges!!!
I’d like to challenge your thinking with this idea: LOOK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!
Stop ‘searching the world’ for new prospects/ fresh money. Before you figure out how to get to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or the Walton’s…look to your own CHAMPIONS who have the strongest interest in your Cause and your Case.
Here are 3 stories to reinforce this idea of ‘YOUR OWN BACKYARD’.
Russell H. Conwell wrote one of the most powerful and motivational classics of all time, Acres of Diamonds, published in 1921. Conwell actually gave his speech entitled “ACRES OF DIAMONDS” more than 5,000 times and earned enough in this effort to help found Temple University!
Here are summarized versions of 3 STORIES in the book that I hope will have a huge IMPACT on your thinking about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS.
GOLD. In 1847, a man who owned a ranch in Northern California heard that gold had been discovered somewhere in Southern California. He sold his ranch to a Colonel Sutter, and then went south to search for gold and riches, never to return.
Colonel Sutter put a mill on that stream. One day, he discovered flakes of gold in the spill off. Sutter’s discovery, in 1849, started the CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH!
DIAMONDS. An old Persian farmer was desperate for riches. He sold his farm, collected his money, left his family and went off in into the garden to drink. As the camel put his nose in the shallow water of the garden brook, the new owner saw a flash of brilliance and reached in and pulled out a diamond (in the rough). This discovery became the famous diamond mine of GOLCONDA!
OIL. In Pennsylvania, another farmer sold his farm to take a job with his cousin, who was looking for coal oil in Canada. He, too, was searching for wealth… in other places.
According to the county records, the farmer sold his farm for $833.
The new owner found oil… on that same farm. That oil was eventually worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and this discovery became the PENNSYLVANIA OIL FIELDS!
I hope the moral in all of these stories are clear and evident.