High Impact Major Gift Fundraising

Fuel Your Mission Growth
Through High-Impact Major Donor Fundraising
presented by
High-Impact Board Leadership│The EDGE Group│2
Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it!
Boldness has genius,
magic, and power in it.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Major Gift Fundraising Situation
If your nonprofit is like most, 80% of
your fundraising revenue comes
from 20% of your donors and you
don’t have a specific, actionable plan
to retain and upgrade those donors.
If you don’t know
where you’re going,
you’ll probably end up
somewhere else.
Yogi Berra
Survive and Thrive - Schools│The EDGE Group│6
Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat
ATRR establishes a rhythm for interacting with your donors.
• Ask your donors to help solve the problem your organization is working on
• Thank your donors for what they are doing
• Report back to your donors on what they did (what their gifts accomplished)
• Then Repeat the rhythm, each time deepening the relationship.
What holds you back?
The story of Roger Bannister
High-Impact Major Donor Plan
1. Keep the Donors You Have!
2. Acquire New Donors
3. Develop an Offer
4. Ask
5. Thank
6. Report
7. Repeat
It’s Not About You!
The most successful organizations make the relationship between the donor
and the beneficiaries, and the organization is merely the facilitator.
Here’s what to do to build genuine donor relationships;
• Invite them to an introductory event
• Invite them to an individual meeting (lunch, coffee, etc.)
• It’s important to let them know that these meetings are not “ask” events.
• Connect with them as individuals. Know their hobbies, important dates like
birthdays, send them articles or information you think they would like, etc.
• Tell outcome based stories that showcase the impact your mission is having
on the community.
Keep the Donors You Have!
Active Donors = Anyone who has made a gift to your cause in the last 12-24
Identify these donors and rate them by giving history, giving capacity, affinity,
Odds are your major donors are somewhere in the ATRR process. Identify
where they are in the process.
Typically donors are waiting to be thanked or reported back to.
Invest time with your active major donors first. Keep them active and
eventually encourage them to give more.
Identify New Major Donors
1. First, use Segmentation to divide your donors into categories. You should
have a major donor category, and you should communicate with those major
donors differently than you do the rest of your donors.
a. At a minimum you should have 5 categories; active donors, lapsed
donors, major donors, mid-level donors, general donors.
2. Past/Lapsed major donors are lapsed donors who use to give major gifts to
your organization but no longer give or give at the major donor level. These
folks are hot prospects for being “reactivated” and becoming major donors
3. Prospect mid-level donor is someone who currently gives to your
organization but isn’t giving at the major donor level.
4. Another species of Prospect major donor is someone who has not made a
major gift to your organization but has been introduced to your mission and
has the potential to give.
Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt
Survive and Thrive - Schools│The EDGE Group│13
The Four Elements of a Great Offer
1. A problem that’s easy to understand
2. A solution that’s easy to understand
3. The cost of the solution seems like a good deal
4. Urgency or a deadline
Ask Your Donors to be the Superhero!
Remember it is not about you or your organization.
Your job is to connect good people with good work. Your work/mission!
The donor should feel like the superhero because they gave a gift to help
change the world.
Build your appeals on specific offers.
Major donors are major philanthropic investors. They want to connect with
your leadership team, understand your mission based business model and
have great impact on the community or cause you serve.
• $1M = 40,000 example.
Ask Your Donors to be the Superhero!
When making the ask, the donor should know why you are meeting.
Connect and listen to the donor before making the ask. Know the waters.
Clearly state the offer for support.
Make it as easy as possible for the donor to make a gift.
STOP and listen. Let the donor talk, share, ask questions.
No typically means maybe.
a. Not now
b. Too much
c. Not my passion
d. I need to talk with my spouse or business partner
e. *Try to establish a next step or follow-up to your meeting
How to Best Thank Donors
• Prompt
• Emotional
• Praise the gift! Make the Thank You specifically about what the gift is going to do.
• Tell them that you are going to do what you said you were going to do.
• Thank You Letters, Receipts, hand-written cards, emails, etc.
• Remember that you’re thanking the donor for doing something, NOT thanking the
donor for allowing your organization to do something.
Reporting Back To Your Donors
Always best if done in person.
Get the meeting the same way you got the “ask” meeting. Let the donor know
why you are calling to schedule the meeting.
Create a written report to deliver during or after your meeting.
The report should showcase the great things that have happened because of
the donor’s gift.
Newsletters are a great way to report back to donors at all giving levels.
Reporting Back To Your Donors
1. Every organization should have a printed newsletter, published 3 or 4 times
per year, that shows donors what their gifts have accomplished.;
a. Tell true stories about how lives have been changed by your organization.
b. Tell both the ‘before’ and the ‘after’
c. Give the donor the credit.
d. Make sure the newsletter makes it clear that more help is needed.
e. When you send it out, include a response device and a reply envelope.
2. Second, for your top major donors, you should be preparing personalized
updates for them on projects they’ve supported. When preparing them, use
the same principals as preparing newsletters:
a. It’s about what they did, not about what your organization did.
b. Use outcome stories to illustrate how lives have been changed by their
c. My recommendation is that these are 2 to 4 pages, they should be wellwritten but designed to be scanned. So, they should have pictures, the
pictures should always have captions, they should have headlines.
Is this how you view fundraising strategy?
The best time to plant
a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best
time is today.
Chinese Proverb
“There's a way to do
it better. Find it.”
Thomas Edison
Survive and Thrive - Schools│The EDGE Group│23
1.888.650.EDGE (3343)
[email protected]

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