Two Minutes to Make Gift Officers More Successful

We’ve all see them … schools gearing up for major campaigns saying, “Come join our team as we launch the campaign of the century!”

Traditional theory says, more gift officers means more outreach, which equates to more dollars in the door. Which is true but expensive. What if we shifted focus to making existing gift officers more efficient — to raise more with less?

  1. How many attempts does it take to schedule an appointment at your institution?
  2. Worse yet, how many attempts do gift officers make to alumni who never call back?

Seriously … ask your team!

The result is real money. Use the example of a gift officer making $85,000 a year and spending 60 percent of their time reaching out to alumni who never call back. That’s more than $50,000 of budgeted time for one gift officer spent calling the wrong alumni — before factoring in the opportunity cost of not calling alumni who love the institution but never hear from us. Do the math for a team of five gift officers. That’s real money!

It is certainly not the gift officers fault and, frankly, most gift officers would gladly stop making blind discovery calls.

It is time to provide them the tools to focus outreach on alumni engaged with the institution today. Enter marketing automation and the ability to deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right time. By paying attention to alumni browsing the website or reading e-newsletter articles, marketing automation measures affinity for high-capacity alumni and alerts your team of high-capacity alumni with high affinity, allowing you to prioritize gift officer outreach to alumni currently engaged with the institution.

By now, you’ve heard how this has helped one of Capture Higher Ed’s partners identify more than $1 million of new high-capacity alumni active on their site – in 30 days. But that is just one recent example of a proven technology that dates back to the beginnings of online business.

According to our friends at Harvard Business Review, “In 1985, Xerox installed [An Early Version of Marketing Automation] in its southern region. Xerox credits the system with a 10 percent to 20 percent gain in sales force productivity and with trimming $3 million off the company’s 1987 marketing support and overhead budget.”

Let’s use Xerox numbers because this is not a Capture commercial. If making your gift officers more efficient meant they started raising 10 to 20 percent more overnight, would you still need to hire 5 more?

On the other hand, I’d sure want to join that team when I was a gift officer.

By Kevin Bauman, Director of Philanthropic Initiatives, Capture Higher Ed