The 5 Questions You Should Be Answering In Prospect Management Meetings

Prospect Management Team (PMT) meetings are often under-utilized as a major gifts program management tool and, sometimes, completely misunderstood.

The purpose of PMT meetings is rather straightforward:  to ensure that all major gift prospect managers within a unit, division, or institution are aware of the prospects with whom other prospect managers will soon be engaging.  Sharing with all team members the purpose and expected outcomes of upcoming donor and prospect interactions helps coordinate visits with prospects who may be involved with more than a single prospect manager and gives everyone a chance to inform or weigh in on a visit or interaction prior to it occurring.

The PMT meeting is a communication and coordination meeting as opposed to a major donor prospect strategy-setting meeting, which should be occurring in regularly-scheduled one-on-one meetings between the prospect manager and her supervisor.  Additionally, because the focus of this meeting is on the prospects with whom major gift prospect managers will be engaging, the discussion is decidedly forward-looking.   There should be little to no discussion about the interactions with prospects that have already occurred as that information can be found in the contact report that was filed and/or distributed.

During the PMT meeting, there are 5 core questions that should be answered by prospect managers reporting on their upcoming visits and interactions with major gift prospects.  The 5 questions are:

  1. Who are the prospects have I scheduled for upcoming visits/interactions?
  2. When, specifically, am I visiting with each of these prospects?
  3. What is the purpose of each of the visits I have scheduled with these prospects?
  4. What is the gift invitation amount that I currently have in mind for them?  (whenever that invitation to give might come)
  5. What is my best understanding of the purpose of their next gift? What does this donor wish to support?

The PMT meeting should not be a lengthy meeting – no more than 1 hour, even for larger teams.  The above 5 questions should constitute the core agenda of the meeting.  However, in too many situations, the agendas of PMT meetings are not well-structured and discussions about upcoming special events, annual giving updates, or reporting on past donor interactions (just to name a few of the diversions), dominate the meeting.  These tangential discussions have the unfortunate impact of frustrating team members and encouraging a general negative attitude of “why are we having this meeting, again?”

When each prospect manager adopts the habit of answering these 5 questions about their upcoming prospect interactions, PMT meetings become far shorter in length, more streamlined and helpful, and, ultimately, lead to stronger coordination between the members of the major gifts team.  And, by practicing a discipline of answering these 5 questions and holding other team members accountable to do the same, you quickly will experience an increase in effectiveness throughout your major gifts program.



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