“When starting a major gifts program, what are the three key things to focus on?”
That’s a question Jeff and I received recently.
Here’s what we think:
- The right donors – You can’t go anywhere in major gifts without a donor. And you won’t make it far if it isn’t the right donor – the one that wants to interact with you. Not all donors are the same. There are a number of them who will give you a gift that reaches your major gift criteria, but only one out of three who give will actually engage with you. So find that one, and start with them. Then find another. And keep going until you have 150 donors who will engage.
- The right offer – After you have the right donor, you must have the right offer for that donor. There are three points here. First, you must know the donor’s interests and passions – what really motivates them to give? Secondly, you must have a category or sub-category of your program that matches those passions and interests. Lastly, it needs to be at the right “price” your donor can and will support. No offer? No gift.
- You – You need to be focused on the activity of major gifts fundraising as described above, and nothing else. If you can only do it halftime, then make your goal 75 engaged donors. Can you only do it a quarter of the time? Then 37 to 40 donors. My point is this: protect and focus your time exclusively on these donors.
There are a number of other things you can be doing, and this list is purposely simplistic. But if you start here and stay focused and disciplined, you’ll reach the economic goals you need to reach. Try it.
PS — Make sure you download our free White Paper on this subject, “Starting a Successful Major Gift Program.”