Why Divide Your Partners by Priority
Much of these ideas come from my post, Setting Communication Goals for the Year Ahead (January 2014). The MPGA report has changed since I first wrote about it, so I’m adjusting my instructions in today’s post.
Why divide your partners by priority? You can’t possibly keep up with more than a hundred people equally. You’ll be more effective in communicating with all of your partners if you take the time to prioritize your communication with them. This post will help you prioritize.
I’ve done this for years; I regularly use the Top 50% report tab in the Ministry Partner Giving Analysis Report (MPGA) to help divide our partners by priority. Focusing on this group may be all you can handle right now, but if you can, I recommend also having a “High 80%” group. Thinking of the 80 / 20 rule is what started me down this path. Could I do really well with 80% of my team?
I’ll call our names: A list (50%), B list (80%) and C list (100%) so I don’t confuse you.
In our case, out of 160 people, the 22 partners of our A list provide half of our annual income! We also have another 50 names in a B list who provide an additional 30% of our income, taking us to the 80% mark. If your numbers are similar to ours, consider communicating really well with about half of your partners (A plus B lists) representing 80% of your income (only 72 names for us). 72 names is definitely manageable while 160 names could be overwhelming. Having a strong and consistent communication with those who provide 80% of your income will help you have a healthy donor base. (You will communicate with all, but at different frequencies.)
How to Divide Your Partners by Priority
How to Determine the A & B Lists
Sign in to the Staff Web. Go to your MPGA report to find the A list names from the Top 50% report tab.
To find your B list group you’ll use the Contributions by Partner Currency report in MPDX (TNTConnect users: see NOTES.) Consider printing a copy of this report for January. It’s got a little more information than the 13-Month Report (see point 7 about the reports you should print in Seven Ideas for Planning Your Best Year Yet in MPD Communication).
- Go to your reports in MPDX.
- Select the Contributions by Partner Currency and download a CSV file to Excel.
- Delete the first row of the Excel spreadsheet in order to be able to sort it. (Sorry, I don’t have a Mac. I hope you can adjust these directions as needed.)
- Highlight the whole sheet and sort highest to lowest on the average monthly gifts (Column D).
- Use the amount in row 2 and column D of total giving as your monthly giving total.
- Use a calculator to know what the 80% amount will be. (I use Excel formulas to discover the amounts if you know how to do that.)
- Keep totaling the average monthly amounts past the A list names until you determine which people are giving the next 30% of your average monthly gifts.
- Those in the B list make up the remaining amount to reach your 80% of total giving.
- You could decide to put all your churches in these two groups, as well.
- The C list is everyone else.
These amounts may not change much from year-to-year, so just use these cut-offs for several years and double-check every few years. For us, the A list (50% of total giving) gave at $300+ per month. The B list folks gave approximately at $100+ per month.
As an example, If your total average of monthly giving is $20,000, you’re looking for:
- A list gives $10,000 total.
- B list gives the next $6000.
- C list gives the remaining $4000.
Again, for us, that is:
- 22 names in A list.
- 50 names in B list.
- 88 names in C list.
Now, let’s look at ideas of how you could use this information.
How to Use Your A & B Lists throughout the Year
Decide what you would like to do. Set up your preferred way to keep track of whether partners are A, B, or C, and set up your preferred way to remind yourself to do these tasks.
Try these ideas or something similar:
PHONING (We haven’t implemented this yet.)
- All in the A list… phone annually (for us, two per month)
- Plan to phone through the B list every two years (for us, two per month)
- Work through the C list
- All receive a greeting card with a personal note every year (e.g., an anniversary card)
- Our B list receives an additional greeting card annually (e.g., an anniversary card and Easter Card)
- Our A list receives 2 more greeting cards annually (e.g., an anniversary, Easter, and Thanksgiving card)
- All receive a Dayspring birthday greeting on Facebook when Facebook alerts me (see point 3 in Seven Ideas for Planning Your Best Year Yet in MPD Communication).
- All receive a Christmas card
What are you going to do to start prioritizing so you’re more effective in communicating with your partners?
- If you missed it, read Seven Ideas for Planning Your Best Year Yet in MPD Communication. Start the new year with some good ideas to take your communication skills to the next level.
- If you are a TNTConnect user, see an adaptation of this post on the TNT Tips blog.
How to Divide Your Partners by Priority by Sus Schmitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.