Carnegie Mellon University

Prospect Management and Alumni Engagement Management

Policy Title Prospect Management and Alumni Engagement Management Policy
Policy Owner Vice President for University Advancement
Responsible Offices
  • Prospect Management: University Advancement, Advancement Information Services
  • Alumni Engagement Management: University Advancement, Alumni and Constituent Engagement
Contact Information

Questions concerning this policy or its intent should be directed to the following individuals in the Division of University Advancement:

  • Prospect Management: Assistant Vice President for Advancement Information Services
  • Alumni Engagement Management: Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement
Pertinent Dates This policy was approved on August 18, 2016. Administrative changes were made in October 2018, December 2019, and February 2021.
Approved By The President of Carnegie Mellon University.
Entities Affected By This Policy Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff.
Who Needs To Know About This Policy

This policy governs gift officers, alumni relations officers, and other Carnegie Mellon University employees who interact directly with fundraising prospects, alumni leaders, and volunteers.

The policy is also relevant to management partners such as the President, Provost, deans, and other university faculty and staff members who play important roles in developing and maintaining relationships with prospects, alumni leaders, and volunteers.

All staff who work in advancement-related roles, including but not limited to those providing support to gift officers and alumni engagement officers, should also understand this policy, especially as it relates to the assignment process.

Definitions
  • Alumni Leader/Volunteer: An alumnus/a who serves, or has served, in a leadership or volunteer role that supports and advances the mission and interests of Carnegie Mellon University; its colleges/schools; and/or the Alumni Association.
  • Donor: An individual, foundation, non-profit organization, business/corporation, or other entity that makes a charitable contribution to the university.
  • Prospect: A prospective donor to the university, including current donors who may make additional philanthropic commitments to the university in the future.
  • University Advancement (UA) Management Team: Group composed of the Vice President for University Advancement, his/her direct reports, and other designees of the Vice President.
Forms / Instructions n/a
Related Information

Alumni Relations Policy

Reason for Policy / Purpose

The Prospect Management and Alumni Engagement Management Policy seeks to provide guidance to all university faculty and staff who work with donors, prospects, alumni leaders, and volunteers. The policy helps ensure the university’s philanthropic and alumni engagement relationships are managed in a collaborative and professional manner that will maximize the university’s ability to secure and steward donations; fully engage its alumni leaders/volunteers and other constituents; and ultimately fulfill the mission of the university and the goals of its supporters.

Abstract

This policy outlines the key roles in fundraising and alumni engagement; assignment, reassignment, and inactivation of prospects and engagement manager assignments; and portfolio management. In addition, it provides requirements associated with the integrity of prospect- and alumni leader/volunteer-related data and information, among other topics. This policy and its related procedures help provide donors, prospects, and alumni leaders/volunteers with seamless university experiences, leading to lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with the university.


Policy Statement

  1. Key Roles
    1. Key Roles in Fundraising
      In order to manage the university's relationships with its prospects, University Advancement oversees the assignment of staff, faculty, and volunteers to the following roles:
      1. Prospect Relationship Manager (PM) — Each assigned prospect will have a unique PM, who is typically a member of the fundraising staff employed by the university. Couples will be managed by the same PM and will be counted as a single prospect for portfolio purposes. In addition, prospects who are members of the same family will generally be managed by the same PM (e.g., siblings and parents/children); however, these prospects are counted separately for portfolio purposes. The PM is responsible for developing a strategy for each assigned prospect that is consistent with the university’s comprehensive fundraising plans, and for ensuring that the strategy is implemented in an efficient and timely manner. The PM will have the primary personal relationship with the prospect or will help guide/coordinate the actions of other university personnel or volunteers involved in the relationship. Contacts with prospects by other advancement personnel must be cleared through the assigned PM.
      2. Strategy Leader (SL) — Prospects may also be assigned an SL. The SL, who is not a member of the fundraising staff (e.g., the university President, Provost, deans, or faculty leading key initiatives), is assigned to inform strategy and share content with the PM. They may also lead the personal (face-to-face) relationship with the prospect. An assigned SL is not required for every prospect. A prospect may be assigned more than one SL.
      3. Secondary Relationship Manager (SM) — The SM is a member of the advancement staff who shares an active role in the fundraising outcome of the relationship. In the case of prospects who are assigned to the UA Management Team, this may include college-based gift officers. More than one SM may be assigned to a prospect. SMs may share in the credit for fundraising metrics, as appropriate.
      4. Planned Giving Advisor (PGA) — The PGA is a staff member of the Office of Gift Planning assigned to assist the PM when planned giving discussions are anticipated or occurring. Only one PGA can be assigned per prospect at a given time.
      5. Prospect Volunteer — A Volunteer is an individual who is not employed by the university who has agreed to help facilitate the university’s relationship with a prospect. Multiple volunteers may be assigned to a single prospect.
      6. Temporary Prospect Manager (TPM) — When there is no PM assigned to a prospect, a fundraising staff member has the option to request a TPM assignment (before becoming the actual PM). Members of the fundraising staff are not permitted to contact or visit an unassigned prospect without first obtaining a TPM assignment. Only one TPM can be assigned per prospect at a given time.
    2. Key Roles in Alumni Engagement
      In order to manage the university's relationships with its alumni leaders/volunteers, University Advancement oversees the assignment of university staff to the following roles:
      1. Engagement Manager (EM) — Each assigned alumni leader/volunteer will have a unique EM, who is typically a staff member in the Alumni Association. The EM is responsible for developing a strategy for each assigned alumni leader/volunteer that is consistent with the university's comprehensive alumni engagement plans, and for ensuring that the strategy is implemented in an efficient and timely manner. The EM will have the primary personal relationship with the alumni leader/volunteer or will help guide/coordinate the actions of other university personnel who have the primary relationship with the alumni leader/volunteer. However, for optimal coordination of efforts in cases where both an EM and prospect manager are assigned to the same individual, the prospect manager assignment will be considered primary in terms of guiding/coordinating the relationship. Key strategic contact with alumni leaders/volunteers by other advancement personnel and prospect managers is encouraged to be communicated with the assigned EM prior to the contact.
      2. Secondary Engagement Manager (SEM) — The SEM is a member of the Alumni Association staff who shares an active role in the alumni engagement plans for the assigned alumni leader/volunteer. More than one SEM may be assigned to an alumni leader/volunteer. SEMs may share in the credit for engagement metrics, as appropriate. 
  2. Assignment, Reassignment, and Inactivation

    Prospect Management: As a foundational principle, all prospects are prospects of the university. The Vice President for University Advancement, or his/her designee, currently the Office of Advancement Prospect Management and Research (“Prospect Management Office”), shall assign prospects based on the assignment rules outlined below. Should questions or special circumstances regarding prospect assignment arise that are beyond the scope of this policy, the Vice President for University Advancement will have the final responsibility for making prospect assignment determinations.

    Alumni Engagement Management: The Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement or his/her designee, with the assistance of the Prospect Management Office, shall assign alumni leaders/volunteers based on the assignment rules outlined below. Should questions or special circumstances regarding alumni leader/volunteer assignment arise that are beyond the scope of this policy, the Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement will have the final responsibility for making alumni leader/volunteer assignment determinations. 
    1. Assignment
      1. Prospects
        Prospects will typically be assigned to PMs in the college of primary affiliation. This includes fundraisers employed in University Advancement who represent a specific college, school, or program (hereafter referred to collectively as “college”). 

        This principle notwithstanding, the following categories of prospects will receive special review by the Prospect Management Office to ensure the most appropriate assignment:
        1. Members of the Board of Trustees and presidential advisory committees.
        2. Prospects with high capacity ratings, who have demonstrated multiple interests across the university.
        3. Prospects who are prominent or influential figures or who have a high-profile relationship with the university.
        4. Prospects with demonstrated interest in university initiatives, or general university programs, such as Athletics, Students Affairs, the Libraries, etc.
        5. Prospects with a primary interest in planned gifts may be assigned to fundraisers in the Office of Gift Planning.
        6. Prospects whose primary residence is located outside the continental United States may be assigned to fundraisers in the Office of International Development.
        7. Prospects who are parents only (i.e., parents of current/former students who have no other university affiliation) will be considered for assignment to fundraisers working primarily with parents as a first priority.

        The PM, college chief advancement officer, and Prospect Management Office may consult with each other prior to any additional assignments being made for a prospect, namely: strategy leader(s), secondary relationship manager(s), planned giving advisor, and volunteer(s). However, in cases where a college-based gift officer is not the PM, the college dean may be added as a strategy leader and/or the college chief advancement officer (or his/her designated college-based gift officer) may be added as a secondary relationship manager, as appropriate.

      2. Alumni Leaders/Volunteers
        An alumni leader/volunteer may be assigned to an EM, who is typically a staff member in the Alumni Association. Specific EM assignments will be requested either by staff members in the Alumni Association or assigned by the Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement, in consultation with and subject to the review of the Prospect Management Office. 

        This principle notwithstanding, the following categories of alumni leaders/volunteers may receive special review by the Alumni Association to ensure the most appropriate assignment:
        1. Members of alumni boards (examples include CMU Alumni Association and school/college advisory boards).
        2. Leaders/volunteers of regional and international networks.
        3. Leaders/volunteers of identity and student organizations (examples include Carnegie Mellon Black Alumni Association and Buggy). 
        4. Class reunion volunteers.
        5. Professional development volunteers.
        6. Other potential alumni/ae leaders where further engagement would support the mission of the university. 
    2. Reassignment
      Reassignment of prospects and alumni leaders/volunteers will be managed by the Prospect Management Office, in consultation with chief advancement officers, PMs/EMs, and/or the Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement or his/her designee, as applicable. Reassignments are typically made when PMs/EMs suggest or mutually recommend a reassignment; when there is a staffing change; when a prospect or alumni leader/volunteer is not being actively managed by his/her current PM/EM during a 12-month period; or when an alumni leader/volunteer is no longer in his/her official volunteer capacity. Other cases (prospects only) include, but are not limited to, a prospect’s status change (e.g., becoming a trustee or member of a presidential advisory committee), a rating change, relocation to a region outside the continental United States, or another significant shift in the prospect’s relationship with the university.
    3. Engagement Manager Assignment Inactivation
      The Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement (AVP) or his/her designee, in consultation with the Prospect Management Office, will make decisions regarding the inactivation of EM assignments. If an EM determines that an alumni leader/volunteer should be unassigned for any reason, the individual’s name must be brought to the AVP or his/her designee for review, together with the EM’s written rationale for why the alumnus/a should be unassigned. Cases for EM assignment inactivation include (but are not limited to) a significant shift in the alumni leader/volunteer’s relationship with the university, and when it is learned that an alumni leader/volunteer is deceased. Unassigned alumni leaders/volunteers are still maintained in UA’s database of record and may be reassigned at a future time.
    4. Prospect Inactivation
      The Prospect Management Office (in consultation with the relevant college chief advancement officer, when appropriate) will make decisions regarding prospect inactivation. If a PM determines that a prospect should be inactivated for any reason, that prospect’s name must be brought to the Prospect Management Office for review, together with a written rationale for why the prospect should be inactivated. In select cases, the Prospect Management Office may choose to reassign the prospect to another fundraiser rather than inactivating the prospect. Inactivated prospects are still maintained in UA’s database of record and may be reactivated at a future time. Inactivation will occur automatically when the Prospect Management Office learns that a prospect is deceased.
  3. Portfolio Management
    1. Prospect Management
      The Prospect Management Office, in consultation with the UA Management Team and college chief advancement officers, will establish guidelines for the appropriate numbers of prospects that should be assigned to different types of fundraisers. These guidelines will inform individual fundraiser performance plans.

      In addition, each college may maintain a portfolio of reserved unassigned prospects from which college-based and centrally based gift officers can draw to help fill trips. These unassigned prospect pools, defined by college affiliation, will be created and maintained by the Prospect Management Office. Each such portfolio will be managed by the college’s chief advancement officer. The chief advancement officer is expected to review the unassigned prospect pool, in consultation with the Prospect Management Office, on an annual basis.
    2. Alumni Engagement
      The Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement, in consultation with each EM’s supervisor, will establish guidelines for the appropriate numbers of alumni leaders/volunteers that should be assigned to EMs. These guidelines will inform individual EM performance plans.
  4. Integrity of Data and Information in Database of Record

    It is the responsibility of the PM or EM, as applicable, to keep data and information related to prospects and alumni leaders/volunteers up-to-date in UA’s database of record, including but not limited to:
    1. Activity Reports and Tasks: The PM/EM’s interactions with assigned prospects and alumni leaders/volunteers (e.g., visits, phone calls, letters/emails, etc.) must be documented in the database of record. In addition, the PM is responsible for ensuring/confirming the entry of activity reports/tasks for interactions by other individuals assigned to the prospect (e.g., strategy leaders, secondary relationship managers, and volunteers) or involved in some other way. The Prospect Management Office will hold the PM/EM accountable for appropriately documenting these contacts. Contacts should be entered into UA’s database of record within 5–10 business days of the activity.
    2. Prospect or Alumni Leader/Volunteer Interest: The PM/EM is responsible for maintaining special initiative information on his/her prospects or alumni leaders/volunteers. Special initiatives are areas of focus for the university that relate to its strategic plan. Prospects or alumni leaders/volunteers can have multiple interest codes in UA’s database of record.
    3. Campaign Target (Prospect Management Only): The campaign target is the estimated total amount of Carnegie Mellon gift solicitations for a particular prospect during a university campaign. Note: This dollar figure (not a range) is initially calculated via an algorithm; however, PMs (with supervisor or program head sign-off) can override the algorithm with a custom entry.
    4. Opportunities (Prospect Management Only): The PM is responsible for maintaining opportunity entries in the database of record for all of his/her assigned prospects. This includes monitoring each prospect's status in relation to four main opportunity stages: discovery, cultivation, solicitation, and closed. It is the responsibility of the PM to determine when a prospect's opportunity stage should change in the database of record (e.g., from discovery to cultivation), or if the prospect should be inactivated. A prospect cannot move backwards through stages once a gift solicitation has occurred. A closed opportunity must have a status of accepted or declined. When an opportunity is accepted or declined, the PM should open a new opportunity or inactivate the prospect. Most major gifts should have an associated opportunity in UA’s database of record, and it should be entered into the database no later than the date of submission.
    5. Volunteer Roles and Service Terms (Alumni Engagement Management Only): The duration of a volunteer’s service, along with a record of leadership roles, should be entered into UA’s database of record within 5–10 business days of a change in that status.
  5. Prior Approvals and Independent Efforts
    1. The university recognizes the various ways prospects and alumni leaders/volunteers develop relationships with university administrators, faculty members, Advancement personnel, other university staff, students, and volunteers. That history is often a primary reason an individual becomes more engaged with the university. Despite this reality, it remains in the best interest of the university for members of its community to ensure coordination of efforts. Pursuant to this policy, the PM/EM is responsible for coordination of such relationships, and must be consulted by other members of the university community prior to embarking on any new engagement or fundraising strategies. Note: In cases where both a PM and an EM are assigned to the same prospect and alumni leader/volunteer, the PM will have primary responsibility for coordination of efforts.
    2. The university further recognizes that university administrators, faculty members, Advancement personnel, other university staff, students, and volunteers will identify new prospects. The names of new prospects should be relayed to UA’s Prospect Management Office in order to ensure that there are no current relationships or strategies pending with those prospects; that a record is created for each new prospect in UA’s database of record; and that actions comply with this policy.