Q: “Many boards like to set monthly goals for “touches” with new prospects. In your experience, what is a reasonable amount of “touches per month” for new corporate and individual prospects? My boss wants something like this and I don’t want to be way off base.”
A: The quick answer is that it varies organization-to-organization and situation-to -situation. No magic one-size-fits-all number exists. To establish your customized touch goals for new donors, consider several factors. The most important ones are results, flexibility and common sense. If you establish touch goals and find that your results are inadequate, revise numbers or your definition of what constitutes a touch. Also, any new touch goals (i.e., ten individuals and five corporations) should be comfortably placed on the backburner when other more beneficial opportunities arise. That is, if you have opportunities to work with seven known donors this month to bring in $25,000 each and it takes all your time, your touch goals become secondary—with no penalty. A donor-in-hand is worth more than twenty in the bush. Jerry Panas states that it can take 4.5 times the resources, staff, and energy to acquire a new donor as its does to keep a current one.
To establish the discipline necessary to meet your touch and other development office goals, see http://www.kedconsult.com/articles-resources/tracking-worksheet-for-donor-development/ . I developed this for donor development. I use something similar every day. On unstructured days, it will help you to remember to keep “the main thing” the main thing. After you adapt and use one like it for your work, evaluate it at the end of every month for results. Jiggle what you do until you find a stretch that motivates you, pleases your boss and creates the long-term results you seek.