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.