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Managing Major Gift Fundraisers: A Contrarian's GuideIn an era where 95 percent of the money comes from just 5 percent of the donors, securing major gifts is paramount for educational institutions. And yet, major gift fundraising programs are often managed using practices and rules of thumb that have not changed much since the 1980s. Moreover, the typical metrics used to gauge fundraiser performance are more indicative of raw activity than actual gift outcomes (that is, the number and size of major gifts).

David Lively wants to "tip sacred cows" and open a new conversation about how to best to incentivize fundraisers in a new title from CASE: Managing Major Gift Fundraisers: A Contrarian's Guide. Lively asks probing questions about how best to measure outcomes instead of activities, and how to end counterproductive prospect management practices that actually keep some of the best prospects from getting touches or moving toward a proposal.

In 12 concise chapters, Lively offers insights on:

  • Who should be solicited for a major gift and when is the best time to ask
  • New ways to manage prospect portfolios
  • New methods to incent fundraisers to get to a gift proposal instead of endless touches or visits that don't result in an ask
  • Organizing the major gifts work and the management calendar
  • Hiring and onboarding new major gift fundraisers
  • Better ways to make fundraising projections that are accurate and make sense to advancement leaders
  • Improved metrics that make outcomes matter more than activities

With engaging story-telling and illustrative case studies, Lively shows how new ways of managing the major gift enterprise can lift fundraising practices and yield greater results for your institution.

"This is a book every fundraiser and future fundraiser should read," says Jerry May, vice president for development at the University of Michigan. "David Lively's experience and intellect provide a tremendously practical set of elements for managing and stimulating high major gift performance."

This article is from the BriefCASE 2017 issue.