Prospect Research and Management Policy

The Prospect Management Policy establishes the roles and expectations of University representatives who manage relationships with prospects and donors.

The Primary Gift Officer, also known as the Prospect Manager, is responsible for managing the University's overall relationship with the prospect. Below, we will review the role and responsibilities of the Primary Gift Officer and the expectations for managing assigned prospects. 

Primary Gift Officer Role

As a Prospect Manager, the Primary Gift Officer is the main point of contact and responsible for coordinating and managing the prospect's interactions with Development and other key stakeholders across the University. The role of the Primary Gift Officer is to:

  • Establish a comprehensive University fundraising strategy in coordination with all key University stakeholders that considers multiple interests and all forms of giving (annual, major, and planned giving).
  • Manage and oversee fundraising strategy by keeping aware of and/or coordinating the timing of contacts and solicitations by colleagues, volunteers, University faculty or other staff.
  • Assess the prospect's inclination, affinity and overall philanthropic fit for the University. 
  • Identify, coordinate and implement strategic engagement opportunities between the prospect and the University.
  • Ensure that overall giving by the prospect is appropriately stewarded. 
  • Ensure that all prospect information in the database (Salesforce) is both accurate and up to date. This includes biographical information, planned solicitations, contact reports and any relevant information that are key in managing a long-term relationship with a prospect. 

Key Expectations in Actively Managing Prospects

To actively manage a prospect, the Primary Gift Officer is expected to conduct their work under the following expectations. These expectations are taken into consideration during the Primary Gift Officer's annual review process and are used in part to gauge performance. 

  • Contact or coordinate contact with an assigned prospect within 30 days of assignment.
  • Outreach must be entered into Salesforce as a contact report and may include a visit or an attempt to make a visit/contact.
  • Document all interactions/attempted interactions with an assigned prospect in Salesforce.
  • Document all future planned asks for an assigned prospect in Salesforce. 
  • Documented contact with an assigned prospect at least every 6 months. 

Secondary Manager

A Secondary Manager is a development officer or University representative that is considered as a key stakeholder in the overall relationship with the prospect, but not directly responsible for the active management of the prospect. Secondary Managers may include other development officers, Deans, or other key University staff interfacing with the prospect. 

Secondary Manager Role

The Secondary Manager must clear all outreach, engagement and solicitations with the Primary Gift Officer to ensure proper coordination with existing strategy and solicitation plans. The role of the Secondary Manager is to:

  • Partner with the Primary Gift Officer to build or enhance a comprehensive University strategy.
  • Assist Primary Gift Officer in management and oversight of fundraising strategy by keeping aware of and/or coordinating the timing of contacts and solicitations by colleagues, volunteers, University faculty or other staff.
  • Assist in ensuring that all prospect information in Salesforce is both accurate and up to date. 

When Would a Secondary Manager be Assigned? 

  • Prospects that are working with Gift Planning on a legacy gift.
  • Prospects that have more than one area of philanthropic interest at the University that requires coordination between different gift officers staffing those areas (i.e Law graduate also interested in Athletics). 
  • When the key relationship is held with a Dean or faculty member and they will be facilitating the engagement.

 Secondary Manager Assignments

Development Officers, Deans or University representatives wishing to be added as Secondary Manager to an existing assigned prospect Account must first consult with the current Primary Gift Officer. Following Primary Gift Officer's approval, this person may add their name to the Account team in Salesforce. 

Criteria

Assignments for newly identified prospects are made after taking into consideration appropriate clearance based on degree, interests and University-defined capacity rating. The following are taken into consideration when determining a prospect assignment: 

  • Capacity
    • Capacity level should be appropriate to the gift officer's fundraising unit and job description.
  • Degree/Constituency Type
    • All single degree Law and MBA prospects (assigned or unassigned) are cleared only for their respective schools/development officers. 
    • Current Parents (non-alum) are cleared for Parent Relations.
    • Assignment of prospects with multiple degrees and/or giving interests will be determined by the AVP or Leadership.
    • Corporations and Foundations are automatically cleared to the Office of Corporation and Foundation Relations (CFR). 
    • Current Trustees are automatically cleared for assignment to the Vice President of Development.
  • Significant Giving or Existing University Relationships 
    • If a prospect’s interests are focused on a unit outside the area from which they received their degree, clearance is for the unit with the most significant giving.
    • $25K+ in cumulative giving to a single area of the University, or
    • 75% or more of a donor’s lifetime total giving to a single area of the University
    • Donors with $25K+ cumulative giving to more than one area of the University will be considered as a “multiple interest” prospect and will be managed by the unit deemed most appropriate by Development leadership.

Process

The different ways prospects can be assigned to a Primary Gift Officer are listed below. Gift officers will be notified of new assignments via automatic Salesforce email notification or through the Chatter function.

  • PR&M will proactively assign new prospects to a gift officer's portfolio
  • Gift officer may make an assignment request via the Task feature in Salesforce
  • Gift officer may make an assignment request via ServiceNow using the Prospect Management Request link in Salesforce

Criteria

Prospect reassignments are made after taking into consideration appropriate clearance based on degree, interests and University-defined capacity rating. The following are some common scenarios by which prospects would be reassigned: 

  • Prospect becomes a Trustee or President's Advisory Board member while assigned to a gift officer
  • Mutually agreed-upon, gift officer-prompted reassignment
  • Portfolio reassignments as a result of staffing changes
  • Prospect is not being actively managed by the gift officer

Process

  • Gift officer may make a reassignment request via the Task feature in Salesforce
  • Gift officer may make a reassignment request via ServiceNow using the "Prospect Management Request" link in Salesforce
  • PR&M may proactively reassign prospects 

Criteria

Removal of an actively managed prospect in a portfolio must be reflected in a contact report to provide historical context for the removal. The different reasons a gift officer or Development leadership would remove a prospect from a portfolio are covered below. 

  • When a gift officer is unable to successfully contact the prospect
    • Development officer should attempt to contact (via visit, letter, email, or phone) at least 4-6 documented (via contact report in Salesforce) times over three months. 
  • The prospect is disqualified by the gift officer following qualification or other interaction
  • The prospect is deceased

Process 

  • Enter a contact report to reflect the reason the prospect should no longer be actively managed
  • Select one of the appropriate Move to Next Stage disqualification stages (these stages will be covered in a later lesson)
  • Create a Task and include "Remove from Portfolio" in the summary and assign to a PR&M staff member 

Gift officers are expected to work together when negotiating prospect assignments and reassignments. If gift officers are unable to work out a solution and assignment arbitration is needed, the development officers will then involve their manager(s). Final decision for assignment arbitration will be determined by the AVP or Leadership.

Full-time gift officers should not carry more than the maximum portfolio size outlined below. If a gift officer has a full portfolio and requests an additional prospect, they may be asked to remove an existing prospect before the new assignment can be made. Management of portfolios will be guided by the overall ratio of prospects in each development stage as outlined in the Ideal Portfolio Distribution chart below. 

Principal Giving Ideal Portfolio Distribution by Size and Prospect Stage
Unit % Qualification % Cultivation % Solicitation % Stewardship Portfolio Size
Developing 20% 35% 25% 20% 50 - 100
Mature 5% 45% 30% 20% 50 - 100
Major Giving Portfolio Distribution by Size and Prospect Stage
Unit % Qualification % Cultivation % Solicitation % Stewardship POrtfolio Size
Developing 20% 35% 25% 20% 125 - 175
Mature 5% 45% 30% 20% 125 - 175

Portfolio Development Stages

PR&M updates a prospect's development stage based on the information provided by gift officers via contact reports (Move to Next Stage). Gift officers should always be aware of what development stage their prospect is in and provide stage change details in their contact reports should that stage need to shift. 

The following guidelines are intended to facilitate respectful and coordinated approaches to prospect engagement and solicitation. Before reaching out to a prospect, always keep the following in mind:

  • Before initiating contact with a prospect, consult Salesforce to identify the following: 
    • Any existing Primary Gift Officer or other University relationship
    • Never contact an assigned prospect without first getting clearance from the Primary Gift Officer
    • Existing interests demonstrated by giving history
    • School affiliation
    • Unassigned single degree JD or MBA prospects require clearance from the appropriate development officers for those schools prior to outreach 
    • Prospect meets appropriate capacity/geographic/unit criteria for the development officer's fundraising unit
  • If a prospect record does not exist, the development officer should contact Development Services to request the creation of a new Prospect Account.
  • Primary Gift Officers and Secondary Managers must consult one another in advance of engaging a prospect to ensure that well-intended outreach does not inadvertently compromise other active cultivation/solicitation strategies.
  • Copies of important correspondence (including emails, proposals, and stewardship reports) relevant to a prospect's cultivation or solicitation strategy should be shared with all appropriate staff members who have an interest in the prospect.
    • These documents should be uploaded into the prospect's Contact record in Salesforce. 

All University staff are responsible for entering a contact report whenever an interaction occurs with a USF constituent. Contact reports are an essential tool for effective prospect management and are key in providing historical information, gauging gift officer productivity and informing metrics. Contact reports should contain an accurate account of each encounter University staff has with a prospect, whether face-to-face or via some other form of communication. 

Contact Report Guidelines

  • A contact report should be submitted as early as possible following the completion of the interaction and no more than 10 days following the interaction.
  • Only contacts where a face-to-face significant interaction has occurred may be counted as a ‘visit.’ Contact types that count towards face-to-face visits in gift officer metrics are as follows: 
    • Qualification visit
    • Cultivation visit
    • Solicitation visit
    • Stewardship visit
    • Qualify/Solicitation visit
  • Only visits where the gift officer was present will be counted as a visit.
  • Interactions that take place during events are not considered as visits. For substantive interactions during events, a visit may be claimed at the discretion of the Associate VP.
  • Multiple interactions with a prospect that occur on the same day are considered as one visit.
  • Development stage change information (Move to Next Stage) is required when a Primary Gift Officer enters a contact report for their assigned prospects. 
  • Contact reports should not contain highly sensitive information.
  • The Summary of a contact report should contain a brief synopsis of the interaction, written in the third-person.
  • New information (marital status, employment, relationships, address, telephone, e-mail, etc.) obtained from a contact with a prospect/donor must be updated in the database by using the Updates form on the Contact or Account record in Salesforce.

Contact Report Content 

Contact reports for all visits should contain the following elements and must be entered in order to receive credit toward visit goals: 

  • Gift Officer/University staff name(s) should be entered in the Summary (written in the third person) along with a brief description of the interaction. 
    • Example: [Gift Officer name] met with [prospect name] to give an update on Honors college 
  • Date of actual contact/interaction
  • Details of any other individuals involved (colleagues or prospects)
  • Information resulting from the interaction
  • Information conveyed to the prospect 
  • Notes concerning any follow-up actions or strategy

Qualification Visits

Qualification visits are to be captured using the Qualification Report form. Once the form has been submitted, a contact report will be entered for the gift officer. 

Qualification

  • Prospects in this stage have been identified through research and are ready to be contacted by a gift officer for an initial qualification visit. Prospects in this stage are defined by the following: 
    • Have never been qualified/met with by a gift officer
    • If previously qualified, have not had a visit in 5 or more years
  • Once a prospect has been qualified, they will not move back into this stage for five years, regardless of whether they are reassigned to another development officer over that time period. 

Cultivation

  • Prospects progress to this stage once there has been a completed qualification visit 
  • Prospects are being actively engaged at deeper levels in preparation for a solicitation
  • Prospects may move out of Cultivation and into Qualification if they have been disengaged for five years or more

Solicitation

  • Prospects enter this stage when they are about to be solicited for a gift within the next 11 months and when solicitation clearance has been granted 
  • Prospects may move out of Solicitation and back into Cultivation if an ask is declined and more engagement needs to occur

Pending, Solicitation Follow-up

  • Prospects enter this stage following a solicitation that does not immediately close and will remain in this stage until the gift or pledge agreement is booked
  • All work done to close and follow-up on the ask is considered Cultivation, and not to be counted as additional Solicitation
  • Once a gift closes, the prospect will move out of this stage and into either Stewardship or Cultivation

Stewardship

  • Prospects enter this stage once a solicitation closes and the gift or pledge is booked and there will be no further solicitations within the next 11 months
  • Prospects will move back into Cultivation upon repayment of a pledge, or 11 months after their last gift 

Long Term Stewardship

  • Prospects may be moved to this stage for one of the following reasons: 
    • They have made a legacy commitment and are not giving annually at a level that warrants active prospect management
    • They are not individual giving prospects, but are an important connector/influencer to another major donor or organization

    Qualification Visit

    • Initial face-to-face visit (or if disengaged for 5 or more years) with a prospect to determine if the prospect has an interest in and connection to the University and/or a specific school, unit, or program. The purpose of this meeting is to increase knowledge of background information and early estimates of gift capacity. NOTE: gift officer will use the Qualification Report and PR&M will enter this contact type for them.

    Qualify/Solicitation Visit

    • Initial face-to-face visit (or if disengaged for 5 or more years) with a prospect to determine if the prospect has an interest in and connection to the University and/or a specific school, unit, or program and where the prospect is being solicited for a gift at the same time.

    Cultivation Visit

    • A face-to-face meeting that occurs with the purpose of ongoing relationship building and education/updating the prospect about the University or the follow up visits that are required following a solicitation before a gift is closed and finalized. Cultivation generally occurs following the initial Qualification visit.

    Solicitation Visit

    • A face-to-face visit where the prospect is being solicited for a gift to the University. 

    Stewardship Visit

    • Face-to-face visits where the prospect has made a gift or pledge to the University and the prospect is being engaged to thank them for their giving. Stewardship activities will continue until a new cultivation/solicitation plan is warranted or when pledge payments are completed at which time the donor will return to the Cultivation stage.

    Development officers should be mindful of how they are determining disqualification, always keeping in mind that the prospect may not be a fit for their fundraising unit, but may be for another (e.g. disqualified as a major donor, but capable of a special or legacy gift). Below are the disqualification stages defined: 

    Not a Prospect Now

    •  This disqualification type may be considered in two instances:
      • When a gift officer determines that a prospect does not want to be engaged in a relationship with the University or make a gift at this time, but may in the future
      • When a gift officer is unable to successfully contact the prospect
    • Individuals who are coded as Not a Prospect Now will be reassessed within two to three years by PR&M to be added back into the prospect pool

    Met with, Not a Prospect Now

    • This disqualification type may be considered in two instances:
      • During a face-to-face visit, the gift officer receives information that indicates a prospect has no affinity for the University and that they do not want to be engaged in a relationship with the University at this time
      • When a gift officer determines that a prospect does not have the ability to make a current or future gift at a level that warrants active management
    • Individuals who are coded with Met with, Not a Prospect Now will be reassessed within two to three years by PR&M to be added back into the prospect pool

    Unlikely to Give

    • This inactivation status may be considered in four instances:
      • When a gift officer determines that a prospect has no inclination to ever be engaged by the University
      • When a gift officer deems it inadvisable for the University to continue a relationship with or receive gifts from a prospective donor
      • When a past parent has an inactive record with no giving or activity in the past two years
      • When a prospect is deceased

    The University wants the prospect to consider carefully each proposal without being confused by multiple, and potentially competing, proposals. Significant solicitations made of individual prospects who are currently paying on large pledges should also be avoided. All solicitations should be a part of a formulated University strategy and include all key stakeholders (Secondary Manager; Gift Planning Officer) in the development process, especially for prospects who have multiple University interests.

    Solicitation Clearance

    Only the Primary Gift Officer assigned to the prospect can make solicitations, and all other potential solicitations should be cleared with them before solicitation.

    • If a solicitation of $250K+ is planned, then it is up to the Primary Gift Officer gift officer to clear it with the AVP of Development.
    • The Vice President of Development must approve all solicitations of $1M+.

    All planned asks should be entered into Salesforce prior to a solicitation and at the point when it's determined that an ask will be made, even if that ask may be much further out. Following the below guidelines will help ensure gift officer's proposals are accurately recorded in Salesforce and reflected in metrics and reporting. 

    • All planned asks are to be entered into Salesforce in the Proposal object prior to solicitation
    • Gift officers are required to enter their planned asks on a consistent and ongoing basis so that fundraising revenue can be projected
    • Minimum level for proposal entry into Salesforce is $5K
    • Gift officers are responsible for entering, updating and maintaining the accuracy of their proposals in Salesforce; proposals should always be up-to-date
    • Giving Name field for the proposal should always contain the name of the Account
    • Solicitations for proposals must have a contact report entered immediately following the ask and at the Proposal object; contact reports should contain the following information: 
      • Total amount of the ask or ask range provided to the prospect
      • Details for the gift designation/purpose
      • Next steps
      • If ask is declined, clearly indicate this in the contact report with reasons why
      • Move to Next Stage provided 
    • Attach all relevant documents in PDF format to the Proposal in Salesforce

    Please remember that the rule of thumb is to use the President sparingly in his interaction with prospects. When requesting the President’s time for a meeting with a prospect(s), or an event, whether it is a small dinner or 100+ reception, the following guidelines are to be followed:

    • Email your request to the AVP (Ronica Smucker) with the following information at least two weeks in advance for meetings and four weeks in advance for events:
      • Date, start and end times and location, including appropriate travel time
      • Brief summary of why you are requesting the President's time
      • Desired outcome of the interaction
    • Requests are due Fridays at 9:00am
    • The VP or AVP will follow up directly with the requestor when a decision has been made

    Briefing the President

    Interactions scheduled with the President will require the gift officer to provide a written briefing in the proper format at least 7 days prior to the scheduled interaction. For more details on briefing format and due dates, review the Scheduling and Briefing USF Leadership document

    All interactions and outreach for Trustee/Emeriti and President's Advisory Board must be coordinated with the VP and the AVP, and follow the below guidelines: 

    • Email the VP (Peter Wilch) and the AVP (Ronica Smucker) with meeting or event date, time, purpose and any other pertinent information along with the name of the Trustee/Board member you would like to engage

    Briefing Board Members

    Interactions scheduled with Board Members will require the gift officer to provide a written briefing in the proper format at least 7 days prior to the scheduled interaction. For more details on briefing format and due dates, review the Scheduling and Briefing USF Leadership document.