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Corporate and Foundation Relations Survey

Tue, August 18, 2015 3:28 PM | Anonymous

By Elisa Shoenberger, Senior Prospect Management and Research Analyst, Loyola University Chicago

Several months ago, I was trying to figure out how to structure prospect management with our Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) team. There was not a whole lot of literature out there so I reached out to two local institutions to find out how they handle CFR. It turned out that both institutions handled their CFR research and prospect management in completely different ways.

Then I decided to broaden my sample pool and conduct a survey of organizations across the US so I could gain a better picture of C&F teams nationally. My new survey contained a 10 question survey about research and prospect management in regards to C&F activity. I posted it on Prospect_L, a great resource for researchers and prospect managers, and got about 92 responses. It’s not a scientific survey but I think it gave me a little bit more insight into the topic. Most questions had several answers marked “Other” where the responses didn’t fit the question. They were excluded at this time. Click the links to see charts of the data.

1.       Do you have gift officers who manage only corporations and other officers who manage foundations only? Or do they manage both corporations and foundations together?

Over 65% of organizations have their gift officers manage both corporations and foundations together. Almost 30% have separate teams to handle corporations and another to handle foundations. 


2.       Do gift officers manage organizations and individuals at your organization?

Over 45% respondents reported that their gift officers manage both individual and organization prospects. About 42% reported that some gift officers managed individuals and others supported individuals only. 


3.   What is the average portfolio size for CFR officers?

About 33% of respondents reported that the average portfolio size was between 50 to 100. About 27% said they had between 25 and 49 prospects. Over 15% reported that their gift officers had over 100 prospects while over 5% reported less than 25. Over 15% had more complicated situations such as gift officers who see both organizations and individuals or no dedicated gift officers.


4.  Does your institution use ratings for its Foundations and Corporations?

This was the most surprising of them all. The vast majority (over 70%) do not have ratings. We use ratings at Loyola so i was not expecting this result!


5. Of the 20 who responded yes, we asked: If you have ratings, how do you determine a rating?  

People explained that they used market value, past gift amounts, and had a formula. Other organizations look at the linkage, ability, and interest. Others use one rating for maximum grant and some rely on gift officer rating. Others use past gifts or a four point ranking system.

6.  Are there stages for organizations? Common terms for stages are: suspect, cultivation, stewardship.

This question also surprised me especially after the rating question. Over 80% reported that they had stages for their corporations. Only about 15% did not! 


7.  Does your CFR office have a dedicated researcher?

Almost 60% of respondents reported that they did not while over 30% said that they did. 


8. How many researchers exist at your organization?

Almost 60% have only 0-2 researchers while about 30% have only 2-5 researchers. Less than 5% had over 10.


9  How many gift officers exist at your organization? 

Over 50% reported that they had 3 to 10 gift officers while over 20% reported 31 to 50!


10.    What type of organization are you?

Almost 70% of participants came from higher education. The next largest group at about 8% came from Health- Focused organizations. It would be interesting to see how the information would differ if we excluded higher education!


I’m hoping that this serves to instigate more discussion about prospect management and research for Corporate and Foundations teams. This survey is a start. Please share your ideas! Share your techniques! I think there’s a lot of room for discussion. I can’t wait to hear from you all.

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