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Need help deciding what data to track for corporate/foundation donors and donor prospects

  • 1.  Need help deciding what data to track for corporate/foundation donors and donor prospects

    Posted Jan 11, 2019 10:57
    Edited by Sachin Doshi Jan 11, 2019 10:57
    Hi all,

    I have ADHD and have some trouble keeping track of the various organizations I reach out to in my day-to-day role. I'm responsible for soliciting new corporate and foundation revenue, and some level of relationship management/stewardship with existing corp/fdn donors to keep them happy and prime them for a future ask.

    My issue is this: I'm trying to figure out the minimum amount of data I should track to make sure I can see all these folks at a glance and avoid dropping the ball on reaching out/following up. I don't want to spend a bunch of time tracking every possible element of every interaction in here.

    I'm using AirTable and don't want to switch to another solution unless it's free. We're talking about 150-200 donors at a max. I switched things up yesterday, and here are the current columns I have.

    N.B. I'm not tied to any of these columns, nor am I saying they've worked well since they're so new. Most of my current prospects are corporate, so this may not be suited to foundations (and I don't mind having foundations in a separate sheet).

    • Name
    • Need to reach out? (this is a checkbox)
    • Current status (need help figuring out what the options should be here, I'm very conflicted):
      • Stage 0 - potential prospect
      • Stage 1 - initial outreach (first few emails, setting up a call)
      • Stage 2 - cultivation (first few calls all the way through to strong indicators that they want to fund us)
      • Stage 3 - harvest
      • Stage 4 - relationship management
      • Other
    • Notes (would prefer to keep only absolutely necessary info here)
    • Interest in funding (star rating 1-5)
    • Immediacy of funding (star rating 1-5 - how soon are they likely to fund)
    • Potential programs (which of our work do/might they want to fund)
    • Contacts
    • (I don't yet have this because it's tedious to track, but) some kind of date field(s) that track when we/they first reached out, when we had a first call, the last date we interacted, or any combo of these that is actually worth tracking here, outside of my email. Yesterday I added the "need to reach out" checkbox from above as a quicker alternate to date fields that I can just toggle on/off after a quick search through my email.
    Is this too many columns? Too few? What am I forgetting to track? What should I do about the "current status" field?

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice.

    Sachin Doshi
    Director of Development
    Mental Health America
    Alexandria, VA
    Tech Accelerate

  • 2.  RE: Need help deciding what data to track for corporate/foundation donors and donor prospects

    Posted Jan 12, 2019 06:20
    I can give you my point of view from document management industry. You should consider a unique value per Donor. Maybe a Donor ID?

    If in the future you want to use this database or other types of technology for linking all documents related you need a unique field for lookup. The name is not unique. As you may want to track multiple donor scenarios from the same name.

    K. Howard Enterprise Solutions LLC
    Kyle O'Donnell

    Tech Accelerate

  • 3.  RE: Need help deciding what data to track for corporate/foundation donors and donor prospects

    Posted Jan 14, 2019 10:00
    Hi, Sachin,
    Starting at the end of your list, you need to track your activities. At a minimum, you'll always want to track who-what-when-where-why for each of your interactions. Not all interactions will be related to a particular ask, but it's helpful to know about all of them.

    Your status entries look good. I've used them in reverse order from what you have: 0=closed/funded, 1=pending (accepted but not paid), 2=solicitation (the ask has been made, results are not known), 3=cultivation, 4=discovery. In addition to those, I also have status of Expired (a time-sensitive ask where the deadline passed with no answer, like an event sponsorship), and Declined. It depends mostly on what you need to report. Most prospects can spend quite a bit of time in the 4 and 3 stages.

    One last suggestion would be to make a separate entry in your list for each opportunity you present. This may cause some donors to be listed more than once, but each entry only represents a single-purpose ask, and each opportunity can be in different stages.

    Good luck!

    Susan Walters
    Dallas, TX

    Tech Accelerate

  • 4.  RE: Need help deciding what data to track for corporate/foundation donors and donor prospects

    Posted Jan 15, 2019 09:50
    Consider adding columns for requested amount, expected amount, and funded amount. Funded is zero until you've received the award letter. In addition to status think about adding a likelihood grade from long-shot to sure thing - some people like to use percentages. For your purposes last and next contact dates along with types might be useful. In planning your week and month it's nice to be able to filter on call, LOIs, proposals, and reports due.

    The three Cs are slightly more useful for individual major donors, but can also apply to organization entities. Capacity is the donor's financial resources (funny story - I once worked on a peer screening/prospect rating project for a university. The screenings were wine and cheese events to uncover new info on alum from decades past. A new category called DW, for divorced well, was established by the prospect team). Commitment is the donor's ties to a particular issue or funding area - how much does this individual like to give money for what you do? The final C is connection - who does your board or staff know that can get you to the prospect?

    I've found the three Cs useful when the major gift committee is full of idea-hamsters that like to throw out names. Usually a suspect will rate high on capacity, but often low on commitment and connection. If no one on the committee can offer suggestions there's no real point on promoting from suspect to prospect.

    Good luck,


    Tim Mills-Groninger
    Whiting, IN

    Tech Accelerate