You are the leader of an advancement operation.
5. Have you articulated the objectives you want to accomplish through performance incentives?
I have always believed that, for most people, economics drives behavior. Not to be crass, and not to overlook the importance of mission in our profession, it has been my observation over the years that incentive compensation does motivate behavior and strategy… for good and not so good.
I do believe there is great value in well-designed performance incentive programs for advancement officers. The design and interplay of incentives, however, must be with purpose and individualized. Addressing 1-5 will illuminate why:
If you are addressing the work of a principal gift officer or VP Advancement, I would argue the 8-donor scenario. Deep and fruitful donor relationships take time and often are worth the time. Principal gift officers and VPs have a great deal invested in donor relationships and should be evaluated at the highest outcome measures.
For master gift officers, their portfolios are larger and each donor in the portfolio is typically not as highly rated for capacity, with exceptions of course. Therefore, more gifts at lower average value should be expected with the expectation of value matriculation with good stewardship.
Gift officers need to be empowered to “own” their performance metrics. The numbers they propose are often revealing of their self-confidence, regard for teamwork, regard for coworkers, and may reflect the quality of their portfolio. The final numbers, however, need to embody your judgments as well.
Except in rare circumstances, teamwork out performs solo operators. The way to build teamwork incentives into performance models is by defining “Primary”, “Secondary” and “Tertiary” involvement in the access, cultivation, engagement and solicitation of a donor. When a gift is closed, assign the full value of the gift to each involved gift officer and volunteer as appropriate, assigning their level of involvement. In this way, teamwork behavior is expressed in dollars raised.
We all know it is considered unethical to tie compensation to funds raised, and it is usually unproductive anyway. It is increasingly accepted and is good business, though, to tie overall performance variables to compensation. Copley Raff uses 14 variables that can be weighted differently based on position responsibilities, and almost all the variables reflect outcomesand not process measures, i.e. number of visits or touches. The formula translates into performance incentive bonus amounts for each person.
Performance incentives and compensation are very important tools for managers to use to accomplish objectives from the professionals in your shop.
1. If you do not use performance incentives and compensation for your professional staff, consider if instituting them will help you to accomplish your advancement objectives and assist you in attracting and retaining productive staff members.
2. If you do use performance incentives and compensation make sure you are measuring performance variables that will directly contribute to advancement success.
3. Remember that people like to be recognized and rewarded for a job well done.