The High-Performance Development Organization

Maximizing Staff Productivity and Morale

18 best practices for developing a comprehensive performance management strategy for health care development.

Executive Summary

Despite best of intentions, institutions struggling to adopt comprehensive performance management systems

Budget scrutiny, in conjunction with higher foundation-level goals, have pushed CDOs toward implementing performance measures for major giving staff. While a comprehensive approach and consistent execution are critical to building an effective system, performance management is often sidelined given CDOs’ focus on other critical responsibilities. Additionally, CDOs may mistakenly equate performance management with “metrics.” Although metrics are critical to define success parameters and focus talent on essential activities, merely establishing goals is insufficient to drive performance improvement.

Expectation-setting, feedback mechanisms key to promoting staff performance and demonstrating program value

To ensure an ongoing commitment to performance management, progressive CDOs are spearheading the shift towards a culture of accountability, yet delegating associated responsibilities to specific staff best equipped to handle them. Additionally, CDOs are taking a comprehensive approach to goal-setting and tracking. While many foundations overemphasize yearly reviews or permit imprecise tracking of important activity data, top development offices are gathering and reporting accurate performance data at regular intervals to enable staff to adjust subpar performance and to provide senior hospital executives and board members with clear indicators of foundation performance.

Optimization of major giving portfolios critical to fully leverage evolving prospect pool

Foundations focusing exclusively on staff activity and revenue measures to promote performance are overlooking a critical aspect driving outcomes: portfolio composition. Without deliberate efforts to prioritize prospects, major giving officers often retain yet fail to contact prospects, yielding unmanageably large portfolios. To address these concerns, best-in-class foundations are putting in place prospect management protocols to ensure that ongoing evaluations yield portfolios of prospects with the highest capacity and inclination to give. This spotlight on portfolio potential enables foundations to better predict returns and focuses staff on executing current-year prospect strategies.

Progressive institutions couple accountability mechanisms with efforts to boost staff morale

As staff members are expected to meet increasing goals within a difficult fundraising environment, it is important to ensure that they are supported and valued in their efforts. Although fiscal pressures may have dampened foundations’ abilities to introduce or increase existing financial incentives, foundations are creatively engaging staff through initiatives that recognize top talent, celebrate interim achievements as a team, and reinforce the intrinsic value of development as supporting the health care organization’s mission.

Access the full study to learn more

Members of the Philanthropy Leadership Council can read the full study to learn the essential components of building and sustaining a performance management strategy for health care development. The study includes 18 best practices from leading institutions that focus on maximizing major gifts officer productivity through communicating and tracking clear goals, optimizing prospect management, and promoting office morale.

Performance management processes have become imperative not only to improve development performance, but also to demonstrate development’s worth during a time of heightened budget scrutiny. Despite a hunger for mechanisms that more accurately reflect development productivity than a year-end fundraising figure, development executives may encounter multiple flaws in execution that preclude foundations from reaping associated gains.

Members who read this study will:

  • Review profiles of development organizations that successfully implemented a culture of accountability while building credibility with staff
  • Evaluate models from organizations of various sizes that clearly assign ownership for overseeing the performance management process
  • Gain advice on determining the appropriate balance of activity, pipeline, and revenue metrics for major gifts officers and planned giving officers
  • Learn from organizations that have achieved optimal levels of transparency into individual and foundation performance, as presented to various constituencies
  • Consider various tactics to optimize active portfolio management and prospect strategy execution

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