For Impact


A Thought on Major Gifts Officers

Funding Model and Funding Plans | | Nick Fellers

Stance: I’m ALL FOR adding more sales people… investing in sales, etc.

A thought/question as it relates to ADDING more sales people (major gifts positions). Should you add another position? Or, should we re-design some of the top-level priorities so that an ED and senior advancement officer can allocate more time to the top of the pyramid?

Catalyst: I’m out west working with a For Impact org that is about three months into making the quantum leap. ED gets it…. totally. He says, “Nick, I can see how this is going to continue to be HUGE. I’m thinking we should add ANOTHER major gifts person.”

I challenged the ED (and share with you). To date, he’s only been able to spend about 1% of his time on top-level relationships (up from 0%). My suggestion was that he hire a high-level support person (eg. ‘Director of Special Projects’) to free up his ability to create a 10% focus. Even if he were to hire another sales person, he is a leader, a visionary and consequently, the dude that needs to be part of the presentation for the many $1M+ relationships. Adding someone else (without adding leadership focus) isn’t going to max the return. Interesting though, I’ll bet it would still have a strong ROI.

This is no different than asking a CEO to make it a priority to service the top-level accounts for a company. He/she can add more sales people but to really maximize the potential time could be well spent checking in on the top 10 accounts.