4 Steps To Building A Portfolio-Review Tool

July 16, 2018       The NonProfit Times      

How often would you check your oil if the little red light didn’t pop up on your dashboard? Regular maintenance is one way of paying a little bit now to enjoy benefits later. Managing and reviewing gift portfolios is no different.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute launched portfolio reviews in 2014, a bi-annual process. Six analysts review about 15 portfolios in a process that takes about five to 10 hours per review. Lindsay A. Brown, associate director, analytics discussed the process during her session “Data-Driven Portfolio Reviews” at the 2018 Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fundraising Day in New York.

    The objective of the reviews is to maintain and improve accuracy, reduce analyst time, and standardize processes and outcomes, according to Brown. She also shared four steps to building a portfolio-review tool. They are:

  • Formalize and prioritize guidelines. This comes in two varieties. The first variety is characteristics of a portfolio such as ideal size and maturity. There are also review objectives such as identifying top prospects and, conversely, identifying former prospects who ought to be removed;
  • Identify and obtain data. For gift-officer activity, this might include assignment length, prior activity, and proposal status. Giving data might include pledge balances, event information, and whether gifts were made to honor or memorialize;
  • Build and test. Test a variety of scenarios and confirm that accuracy of recommendations. Change data around to ensure that inputted formulas update. Do not make this a one-person job, have others review; and,
  • Document and train. Set up a group demonstration and means of individual support. Document formulas and guidelines.