The working relationship between researchers and gift officers can make or break a shop’s morale, efficiency, and ability to reach its goals! Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to match yourself with major gift officers based on strengths and working style capability instead of random assignments? In this month of love, APRA-IL is having some fun and imagining a world where we could pick our perfect research and gift officer match. In an ode to all the popular reality match making shows, we present to you- a new series, Match Makers: The Prospect Development Edition.
Match Makers: The Prospect Development Edition
Host: Welcome back everyone to Match Makers: The Prospect Development Edition. We are so happy to be back with our competitors at Ordinary University! Let’s reintroduce our researchers- Xavier, Veronica, and Melissa, and our major gift officer is Jared. Welcome back guys, I hope you’re all ready for our first challenge.
Audience, our first challenge is called “Building Blocks- Can you build a portfolio?” The objective is for our researchers to compile prospects for Jared’s new portfolio which would aid OU’s School of Nursing. A portfolio must consist of top major gift prospects the researchers believe Jared would want to meet.
To make things a little more interesting, the researchers have one week to put this together- 60 total prospects, so it is a very small portfolio, and 30 must be found through proactive research- we are trying to expand the Nursing School’s prospect pool.
Once the portfolios are in, Jared will decide who the winner of this challenge is.
Great! May the force of Lexis Nexis be with you all!
And we are back with our researchers and major gift officer. Let’s take some time now to get to know our researchers and how their week has been.
Xavier: Hello my name is Xavier, I’m originally from Virginia and I’ve been a researcher at OU for one year and have been in the research profession a total of 2 years. I’ve worked in other small shops before besides OU so I have some experience fulfilling research requests for portfolios of this size. I feel like this was a good challenge for me, because I think as a researcher my strengths lie in my tenacity to find necessary information. But I still feel overwhelmed at times due to the amount of information one can find about a prospect. I mean, let’s be honest, these are very high capacity givers- their careers didn’t start yesterday, so putting together the portfolio was not the easiest under this kind of pressure. It felt like I was picking long needles out of a haystack. Looking at my portfolio, it’s strong- I made a list of the best 30 proactive and 30 reactive prospect’s names, and included their companies and giving capacity.
Host: Wow Xavier, I feel the pressure just hearing your feedback. Let’s hear from Veronica.
Veronica: Hello my name is Veronica, I’m originally from Texas and I’ve been a researcher at OU for 3 years and started as a Development assistant. I enjoyed this research request despite the pressure, and I felt like there were too many options when it came to searching for the 30 proactive prospects, so that took majority of my time to gather the 60 total. I decided to include a map of my prospects as a visual aid for Jared’s travel plans. I then listed the prospects based on funding priority, and added a very small blurb for each of them. For me, choosing priority was based on the prospect’s philanthropic behavior, and career history.
Host: Impressive Veronica! Next, let’s meet Melissa.
Melissa: Hello, I’m Melissa and I am an OU alumna and small town native. My career started in the finance department and somehow, I maneuvered my way into prospect research, and have been here for 3 months. I feel like my portfolio is strong because I gave Jared the ammunition he truly needed- along with my 60 prospects I gave short blurbs on each prospect and focused on capacity ratings. I believe the time span allotted for this challenge was THE challenge- I think with a portfolio of this size you still need a lot more time, so I am grateful for the days and evenings we were given to work on it.
Host: Well, thanks everyone for participating! Sounds like Jared has a hard decision to make. So what do you think Jared?
Jared: All three portfolios were great and honestly made this decision difficult. There were similarities across the board, but I must say that one stood out to me and that was Veronica’s. Veronica, you won this challenge mainly because you included a document flagging an order of priority. Which you stated would help me in setting up my meetings and travel plans. You also included a document that geographically mapped out the prospects in this portfolio. I really feel like these add-ons made your portfolio stand out and were just more helpful.
Host: What?! Whoa Veronica, you really grabbed the bull by the horns for this challenge!
Now let me say, we never made restrictions on what could NOT be in the portfolios- Just so we’re all clear on the rules.
Jared: Exactly. So, Veronica wins based on the bonus features which I found extremely helpful. Xavier’s portfolio was good because his prospects worked at notable companies and hospitals, and held interesting titles. But he didn’t give me much else to work with. And Melissa’s portfolio was impressive, but with the capacity ratings and no additional information, I lacked conversation pieces. It’s important that I connect with these prospects on an organic level.
Host: Well folks I think we’ve all learned a great lesson here: make sure your portfolio is original, helpful, and presents an array of information that can help your officer with the conversation and of course his ask.
So now that we have completed our first challenge, Veronica is leading and has set the bar high. I want our competitors to know that these challenges are only going to get harder. Remember to push yourselves and think creatively with your presentation and relevant material.
Join us next time on Match Makers: The Prospect Development Edition. At the end there will only be one match.