Understand how we got here — and how to move forward.


Case Study

How Sanford Health Foundation boosts portfolio productivity

15 Minute Read


The challenge

The average health care fundraiser interacts with only 61% of their portfolio—but top performing fundraisers interact with 80% of their portfolios. Fundraisers who let prospects go without contact are more likely to miss revenue goals and stall the relationship building process. Portfolio stagnation is often the result of suboptimal portfolio sizes, limited visibility into performance, and a lack of goals.

The organization

Sanford Health is a large nonprofit health system located in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Sanford Health Foundation consists of 43 FTEs with 8.5 FTEs dedicated to raising major and principal gifts. In FY2020, Sanford Health Foundation raised $21M from nearly 7,000 donors.

The approach

Sanford Health Foundation rightsized previous portfolios from 150 prospects to 75 prospects—and made these new portfolios “primary portfolios”. They also set a new goal for major gift officers (MGOs) to interact with 80% of their portfolio each quarter. Finally, to support MGOs’ visibility into their performance and foster accountability, data analysts created daily dashboards for MGOs.

The result

Sanford Health’s Foundation’s new strategy is boosting productivity. In H1 2021, MGOs increased their number of solicitations by 40% compared to H1 2020 and by 35% compared to H1 2019. They also increased phone calls and meetings by 33% in H1 2021 compared to H1 2020. In addition, MGOs asked for higher dollar amounts in 2021 compared to previous years.



How Sanford Health Foundation boosts interactions using optimal portfolios, new goals, and live tracking

In FY2020, major gift officers (MGOs) at Sanford Health Foundation were only interacting with 47% of their portfolios and consistently missing revenue goals.

Leaders sought to increase MGOs’ portfolio interactions in 2021 by making portfolios smaller and tiered; they also developed a more metric driven culture by adding new goals and creating a live dashboard.


The three steps

Development leadership and fundraisers at Sanford Health Foundation restructured portfolio sizes and boosted productivity by following these three steps.

  • Step

    Tier and right-size prospect portfolios

    Read More Collapse
  • Step

    Deploy action-oriented goals each quarter and year

    Read More Collapse
  • Step

    Create a daily performance dashboard

    Read More Collapse


How we know it’s working

In the first half of 2021, MGOs at Sanford Health Foundation interacted with more individuals in their portfolios, increased solicitations, and asked for larger gifts compared to H1 2020 and H1 2019.


Increase in number of phone calls and meetings by fundraisers from H1 2020 to H1 2021


Increase in number of major gift asks by major gift officers from H1 2020 to H1 2021


Total funds raised in H1 2021. $3.4M was raised in major gifts a 2% increase over H1 2020


Increase in total dollar amount asks by major gift officers from H1 2020 to H1 2021

Have a Question?


Ask our experts a question on any topic in health care by visiting our member portal, AskAdvisory.