New Study from Ruffalo Noel Levitz Reveals Inefficiencies in Productivity Hinder Fundraising Goals

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“This study—the first to survey such a large number of gift officers—confirms that traditional approaches to major and planned giving are becoming outdated and ineffective,” says Brian Gawor, CFRE and vice president for research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Ruffalo Noel Levitz, leading provider of higher education fundraising and enrollment products and services, released today results from a study of major and planned gift officers. Key findings indicate traditional approaches to fundraising management fail to address the new challenges in higher education and increased demands on advancement professionals to be more productive. As institutions’ fundraising goals increase, major and planned giving is emerging as significantly more important to higher ed success.

The study is informed by a survey and follow-up interviews administered this spring to 270 gift officers exploring factors including portfolio size and annual prospective donor visits, common performance metrics and sentiments around wealth and propensity ratings.

Analysis of survey results revealed five key challenges as reported by major and planned giving professionals:

  • Prospect pools are large and gift officer time is limited
  • Wealth ratings are only moderately helpful
  • Total dollars booked is the top performance metric
  • Limited time to focus quality time on the right prospects is a key barrier to success


“This study—the first to survey such a large number of gift officers—confirms that traditional approaches to major and planned giving are becoming outdated and ineffective,” says Brian Gawor, CFRE and vice president for research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “Respondents reported they were able to visit with only 56% of…

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