Prospect Management Overview

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A major part of any development office is to build and maintain relationships with people who have the potential capacity to give to the school. Veracross has a number of features that allow schools to manage their workflow to organize, categorize, and manage their past, present, and prospective donors.

Schools work to identify “prospect” donors who have the potential to donate major gifts to the school and then manage these prospect donors through “moves.” Moves are the initiatives or activities taken by the school in order to develop the donor’s interest in particular areas of the school, determine their inclination and capacity to give, and leading to eventual solicitation.

Veracross supports prospect management by creating a workflow around donor relationship building. This workflow follows the core stages of a donor’s progress through school/donor relationship cultivation:

  1. Identify
    Who is the prospect?
  2. Qualify
    How much and how willing are they likely to give?
  3. Cultivate
    What is the plan for getting the donor to the final goal – to give money?
  4. Solicit
    How much is the donor going to be asked to give and where is the money going to go?
  5. Steward
    How will this relationship be maintained?

Each stage in prospect management has multiple moves that shepherd the donor from one stage to the next and ensure that there always next steps to take with all prospects.


There are some concepts that development offices need to be familiar with when managing donors in Veracross.

(Managed) Prospects

Individuals that schools have identified as potential major givers are referred to as (managed) prospects. The giving threshold for identifying a prospect — as opposed to simply a potential donor — will vary from school to school, from $2,500 to $25,000. A person becomes a managed prospect and enters into the formal prospect management process when they are assigned a manager in Veracross. Managers are assigned using the “Manager” dropdown field on the Development tab on the person record. As soon as a person is assigned a manager, they will appear in the Managed Prospects report.


A manager is a person within the development office who is responsible for managed prospects. Usually this is the director of development or the major gift officer(s) at the school. The manager is responsible for moving their assigned prospects through the donor cultivation stages. This means scheduling events, assigning tasks to other development staff, and making sure there is a defined plan for the donor.


Moves are the specific initiatives or activities between a school and a donor that contributes to a particular stage in the process. In Veracross, moves are tracked as development events. Events can be both group and individual events, but will most often be individual events. Every event between a school and a donor should always have a follow-up event scheduled. This keeps the donor active with the school and moving through the stages.

Managed Prospects (Reports)

The moves management process in Veracross is facilitated by three reports located under the Managed Prospects section on the Development homepage.

Managed Prospects

The “Managed Prospects” report displays all donors who have been assigned a development manager. This report is designed to provide a high-level summary view of the stage each managed prospect is in, the last time the prospect was reviewed (i.e. record updated), the most recent development event related to this donor, and the next scheduled event. Managers can use this report to quickly determine if the cultivation plan is progressing smoothly for each donor.

Managed Prospects Pipeline

The “Managed Prospects Pipeline” report provides a high level look at the distribution of ratings and stages across all managed prospects. Each row represents the rating value (combination of inclination and capacity to give), each column represents a stage, and the cells in the grid display the number of managed prospects in each rating/stage combination. The last column in the report shows the total number of pending tasks for each rating.

Pending Tasks

The “Pending Tasks” report displays all tasks that are open (i.e. has the status “in-progress” or “pending”). A task can be either an open individual event or a follow-up task associated with an individual event. Task management is the fundamental part to moving prospect donors through the stages. Each task represents an action taken towards cultivating the school/donor relationship and ultimately achieving the end goal: the giving of the gift. There should be relatively few tasks open at any given time.

My Events for Review

While not directly part of the prospect management process, the “My Events for Review” report may prove useful. This report is user specific and displays all events in which the person currently logged into Axiom is either invited to attend or is assigned as the follow-up person. For prospect management, it is the follow-up events (or tasks) that users will want to pay attention to. The “Pending Tasks” report can also be used to view all open tasks, but the “My Events for Review” report displays only the pending tasks for the assigned follow-up person. Development staff involved with donor relationship building should regularly check this report.

Development Tab

Prospect management is conducted at the individual donor level. Schools work with one person to target their interests in the school and build a lasting relationship with that donor. All data related to the donor’s moves and development information is tracked on the Development tab on their person record. From this tab, managers can review and enter all data related to this person’s progress as a prospect donor.

Each field on the Development tab is important to school/donor relationship building. Development staff should possess a firm understanding of each field and use them intentionally to help facilitate the donor’s progress through the stages.

  • Manager: the primary person responsible for managing the donor. Typically the manager is either the director of development or the major gifts officer. In order for a person to appear in the drop-down menu for this, one of the following must be true:
    • Person has the security role of Development_1 or Solicitor
    • Person is a solicitor of a Solicitation Group for a school year on or after the current school year
    • Person is already specified as a manager (from the Development tab on Person)
    • Person is already specified as a primary solicitor (from the Development tab on Person)
    • Person is already specified as a secondary solicitor (from the Development tab on Person)
  • Primary Solicitor: the primary person responsible for contacting the donor for solicitations.
  • Secondary Solicitor: a secondary person that may need to be kept informed about the donor’s progress or works with the donor indirectly (e.g. head of school).

    Note: the manager, primary solicitor, and secondary solicitor are dropdown menu items. Schools will select from this dropdown to assign the responsible persons. People with the following security roles will appear for selection in the dropdown: Development_1 or Solicitor. Solicitors in a solicitation group for the current school year will also be an option. Finally, people with the “Development Manager/Solicitor” system profile code will also be available to assign as manager or solicitor.

  • Rating: a two value combination indicating the donor’s capacity to give and their inclination to give, resulting in their overall potential to give to the school. Rating values are school defined and can be a combination of values representing inclination and capacity. The most common combination, and the one Veracross highly recommends schools use, is the number and letter rating scale.
    • Capacity: typically the first value in the rating combination and is represented by a number. This indicates the amount in which the donor has the potential to give to the school with six representing very little and one representing a lot.
    • Inclination: typically the second value in the ranking combination and is represented by a letter. This indicates the donors likeliness to give to the school with D (the top of the scale) being unlikely and A being extremely likely.
  • For Example: if a manager rates a donor as 1A, than that donor has both the capacity to give a substantial amount of money and are very willing to give it.

  • Stage: the moves management stage the donor is currently in. There are five stages: identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward. (Each stage is covered in more detail in the Prospect Management Workflow section.)
  • Last Review Date: the last date the donor’s information was reviewed. This date should always be changed whenever work is done on their record. Managers should keep an eye on this date and make sure all of their managed prospects are regularly being reviewed.
  • Notes: text field in which the manager, solicitors, and others involved with the donor can track notes about working with the donor (e.g. best forms of communication, what he is like to work with, where he is likely to give, etc.).

Events/Moves Grid

At the bottom of the Development tab is the events (or moves) grid. All events that the donor has been invited to (including unrelated development events) and tasks related to the donor will be displayed. Schools can access detailed information about each of the events by clicking on the magnifying glass to open the individual event record.

Managing events is a crucial part of prospect management. All relationship building with a donor should be tracked through individual event records and be regularly reviewed using the events grid. New events can be added directly from the grid or from the “Add an Individual Event” link located on the Development homepage. Adding an individual event directly from the Development homepage will prepopulate the event detail screen with the development specific fields (attendees, campaign, etc.). If an individual event is added from another homepage, the development specific fields will be added once a development event type is selected and the event record is added.

Development Events (Moves)

Veracross tracks all moves as individual development events. Each individual event represents a “move” made by the school to help cultivate the relationship with the donor. These “moves” can be tasks which the development office must complete to move the donor to the next stage, meetings between the donor and the school, communication events such as letter sent, etc. The main task of prospect management is planning and organizing individual development events in a way that builds a relationship with the donor, identifies their areas of interest in the school, and facilitates receiving a major gift from the donor.

In prospect management no activity is too small to record. An individual event record should be entered for every activity involved with the donor. Every move conducted with the donor requires a follow-up move. Follow-ups can be in the form of another scheduled event such as a meeting or a phone call, or can be a follow-up task for a development staff member associated with the move.

As with the Development tab on the person record, Development staff should become very familiar with individual event records and follow-up task management. This is the primary vehicle by which donors are driven through the donor cultivation stages.


  • Person: donor to which this event applies.
  • Date: date the event will occur.
  • Event: the type of event. For moves related events, used the event types prefixed with “DEV” for development.
  • Subject: (text field) what this event is about.
  • Start Time: (text field) time in which the event will start.
  • Location: (text field) where the event will take place (e.g. name of the restaurant if the event is for a dinner meeting with donor).
  • Attendees: (text field) name of all the people who are attending this event including the donor.
  • Notes: summary of what happened at the event. Notes should be specific and informative so they can be referenced later as needed by other development staff members. The notes field is where a manager might indicate how this event contributed to the donor’s current stage.


  • Status: the current status of the event: pending, in-progress, or closed. This field is manually updated by the manager as events occur.
  • Assigned to: person responsible for the event (e.g. the school member taking the donor out to dinner).
  • Campaign: the campaign this event supports.
  • Stage: the donor cultivation stage the event contributes to.
  • Classification: high-level organization category in which to group individual events. Schools can define their own individual event classifications from the “Individual Event Classification” link located under the Configuration > Events section on the System homepage. All individual event classification for development should have the category “Development.” When classifications are configured they will appear as options in the Classifications dropdown menu.


All development events contributing to a move for a donor should have follow-up information. This ensures that donors are being supported at every stage.

  • F/U Person: the person responsible for following up on the event (e.g. sending a thank you letter to the donor).
  • F/U Date: date in which the follow-up occurred.
  • Complete: checkbox indicating the follow-up was successfully completed.
  • Follow Up Notes: summary of what was done to follow-up on the event.

In most moves activities, the follow-up section will be sufficient for tracking the overall success of the event and ensuring donors are well cared for. However, if more detailed follow-up management is needed, such as assigning different tasks to different development staff members, schools should use the Follow-Up Tasks section.

Follow-Up Tasks

For some moves additional follow-up may be required. Each follow-up task can be entered as an individual event using the Follow-Up Tasks input grid on the individual event record. All tasks entered are tracked as individual event records and appear in the Tasks tab in the Development section of the person record. Enumerating follow-up tasks for an event allows a follow-up person to be assigned to each task. For one move event, a task might be assigned to the development data entry person to record notes on the Development tab, a task might be assigned to the head of school indicating the donor would like to have a meeting with him, and a task might be assigned to the manager indicating this person is ready to be solicited.

Prospect Management Workflow

Schools define their own workflow for managing prospect donors based on their fundraising year, their philosophy of giving, what they know about their donors, and much more. However, in order to gain a sense of how all the components of prospect management operates in Veracross, including what fields should be regularly updated on the donor’s development tabs, when individual events should be entered, follow-up tasks assigned, etc., below is a basic example workflow of how a development office might work through each stage with a donor.

STAGE 1: Identify

Development office identifies potential donors that they would like to begin working with.
GOAL: determine prospect donors who are likely to give large gifts to the school and begin preparations for donor research.
At the identify stage, schools are reviewing their current list of donors and investigating new donors that have the potential to give a large gift to the school. During this stage, research about the donor’s demographics, their capacity to give, and other important initial information is gathered about the donor.When the development office decides this is a donor they would like to pursue, the following should occur:

  • The “Manager” field on the Development tab on the person record is updated to the primary person responsible for the donor.
  • The donor is automatically added to the “Managed Prospects” report.
  • The “Stage” field on the Development tab is updated to “identify.”
  • The “Primary Solicitor” field is updated to whomever will be responsible for contacting the donor for the gift.

STAGE 2: Qualify

Manager (or other development staff member) conducts research on the donor.
GOAL: research donors to determine their capacity and inclination to give. This will begin to form the list of donors the development office will move through the cultivation process.
In order to decide which donors will be moved through the managed prospects pipeline, the development office must conduct research on the donor to determine their capacity and inclination to give, their potential areas of interest in the school, their assets, etc. For this stage, development offices often use a wealth screening third party service, such as Wealth Engine, for detailed analysis of a donor’s available assets. The development office will then use this information to inform their decision to pursue this donor. At this stage, the following should occur:

  • The donor’s stage is updated to “Qualify” on the Development tab.
  • Development office determines the donor’s rating using a combination of the wealth screening information and their own knowledge of the donor. The “Rating” field on the Development tab is updated to the appropriate value.
  • Notes should be added in the “Notes” field on the Development tab indicating where this donor is likely to give and where solicitation should be targeted.

STAGE 3: Cultivate

Manager and solicitors put together a solicitation plan for the donor and begin building the relationship.
GOAL: build a relationship with a donor that targets their interest in an area of the school and primes them for solicitation.
The cultivate stage is where most of the action happens for building the relationship with the donor. The manager and solicitors will establish a solicitation plan for the donor and begin contacting the donor, scheduling events, and setting up meetings to start building the relationship. This is the “moves” stage of prospect management. To facilitate moves tracking it is important that a detailed record of each move with the donor is recorded through individual events. Managers and others responsible for this donor can reference these events and adjust the solicitation plan accordingly. Most information will be tracked through individual event records. At this stage, the following should occur:

  • The donor’s stage is updated to “Cultivate” on the Development tab.
  • An event record is entered for every interaction with the donor, including emails and letters sent.
  • For every action taken with the donor, a follow-up action or next event is always scheduled. The manager can use the “Managed Prospects” report to view the most recent and next scheduled events for their managed prospects.
  • The “Pending Tasks” report may also be useful at this stage.
  • Follow-up tasks to each event are assigned using the follow-up tasks section on the event record.
  • All development staff members regularly review their “My Events for Review” report to keep track of tasks assigned to them.
  • As events occur, managers update the status of the event to either “in-progress” or “closed”.

STAGE 4. Solicit

The primary solicitor appeals for money from the donor.
GOAL: receive major gift from the donor.
The solicitation stage is the reward of cultivation. When the manager and solicitors feel it is an appropriate time to ask for a gift, the primary solicitor will contact the donor for the gift to the school. This is often done through a proposal presented to the donor. At this stage, the following should occur:

  • The donor’s stage is updated to “Solicitation” on the Development tab.
  • The primary solicitor makes an appeal for money from the donor.
  • Immediate follow-up event to the appeal is entered (i.e. send thank you letter to the donor).

STAGE 5: Steward

Manager keeps the donor informed about the school.
GOAL: keep the donor interested and involved with the school through periodic communication. Maintain the relationship so they may be solicited again in the future.
After the donor has made their gift to the school, the donor moves to the stewardship stage. The manager will continue working with the donor, informing them of events at the school, keeping them up-to-date on how their gift is being used, but the donor is not contacted again for solicitation unless they are put back in the moves pipeline. During this time, the development office will often send the donor a formal thank you note indicating the impact of their gift at the school.At this stage, the following should occur:

  • The donor’s stage is updated to “Steward” on the Development tab.
  • Manager periodically contacts the donor.
  • Individual events are created to keep the donor informed of gift impact and other school related events.