Major gifts are the financial backbone for your organization. Follow these 8 best practices to grow your own major giving strategy.
- Perform a prospect screening.
This is a good place to start, as it feeds directly into the major donor identification process. Prospect research can reveal a wealth of information about potential and existing donors. Whether you hire a screening company, bring in consultants, take on the task in-house or some combination thereof, it’s going to be crucial to candidate identification.
- Form a major giving society.
Launching a major giving society is an excellent way to recognize and reward major donors while encouraging them to stick around and give again in the future. A giving society is an ongoing means of showing gratitude.
The principle behind forming a major giving society is much like the principle behind starting a monthly giving program. You’re taking donors on a direct path from one-time donors to lifetime donors.
- Hire a major gifts officer.
Although smaller and/or newer organizations are going to be more limited in terms of resources, it is important, at the very least, to appoint someone from your fundraising team as the head of your major gift efforts. If you can hire an officer to solely focus on your major giving program, that’s great. If not, work within your means to come up with the best solution, such as shifting around roles among your fundraisers.
- Get help from your board.
Before you can seek help from your board, you’ll want to make sure they see the value in your program and the resources you’ll be allocating to it. With the right support, a major gift program can have a massive impact on your fundraising bottom line. Be very clear about communicating the specifics of that fact. Detail how the numbers are projected to play out for your organization.
- Host events for major donors.
You should be actively seizing opportunities to get your major gift donors together in one room so that you can keep them apprised of key developments within your organization and continue an ongoing major gifts dialogue. It is important to speak to to the impact of their donations and acknowledge their work.
While there’s obviously immense value in hosting something such as a gala, there’s also immense value in inviting a few key prospects to a lunch-and-learn. As your program develops, so will your events calendar. Aim to strike a balance between gatherings meant to inform and gatherings meant to fundraise.
- Offer volunteering opportunities.
Major donors value transparency. They want to see how your organization works so they can make an informed decision about how much to contribute. Essentially, they want to know if their money is going to be put to good use. Give your prospects a window into your programs through volunteerism. It’s a direct and impactful way of assuaging any concerns a prospect might have.
While volunteering, a major gift donor can gain a better understanding of your mission, your staff, and the amazing work you do.
- Track your performance.
You cannot expect to grow your donor pool and improve results if your team doesn’t occasionally take a step back and look at the big picture.
What’s the best way of doing that? Tracking your performance using success metrics! Luckily, there are plenty of well-explained performance indicators out there for your organization to begin tracking.
- Emphasize Donor Retention Rate
You likely track return on investment for your own fundraising activities, prospects are inclined to track it as well. Here’s the bottom line: donors want to know what their money will not only be going toward, but also what it can accomplish. To the best of your organization’s ability, be as transparent as possible about the path your donor’s funds are taking from contribution to action.
For even more tips and advice about Major Giving, download DonorPerfect’s 8 Best Practices For Major Giving E-Book.