I want you to be so successful at major gift fundraising that you will never want to leave your profession and quite honestly, so that you’ll stay with your current organization for at least 5 years.

The only way you are going to achieve that success and longevity is to work with a QUALIFIED portfolio of donors.

After over two decades of working with thousands of major gift officers and hundreds of non-profits, I can confidently say this is the KEY to your success and happiness.

You can have the most inspiring mission, you can have all the resources available to you, but unless you have gone through the process of knowing which donors want a relationship with you and your organization versus those that do not, you will not succeed.

There is no major gift strategy more important.

Yet it’s the one strategy that most non-profits do not use or employ effectively. When we assess the health of a non-profit’s major gift program, this is often what we find:

  1. High donor and donor value attrition – in many cases over 60%!
  2. Caseloads of 2,3 or 400 donors – it’s impossible to cultivate and steward so many donors effectively.
  3. MGOs who are frustrated, defeated, and feel like failures because donors will not respond to them.
  4. Non-profit leaders who think their MGOs are not working hard enough because they are not bringing in enough large gifts. This is happening because MGOs don’t have the time to cultivate real relationships with donors because they’re busy trying to “renew” their massive portfolio.

Not qualifying your portfolio leads to one problem after another. It’s the core reason for a poor performing major gift program.

The reason most non-profit leaders and managers don’t want to qualify their portfolios is because it TAKES TIME. And it’s hard work. Non-profit leaders have this false idea that if you have a major gift program, it should immediately produce results. But, if you’ve never qualified the donors in your current program, you will never achieve the results you want.

It could take you up to 6-8 months to realize a fully qualified portfolio of donors. We have a 7-9 step process for a major gift officer to qualify those donors. Coupled with this strategy, the major gift officer needs a coach to encourage them along the way. That is no joke. It takes patience and persistence and a lot of rejection to get through it.

In fact, only 1 in 3 donors want a relationship with you. This means you are getting a “NO” from most of your donors.

That doesn’t feel great… unless you have a coach who is whispering in your ear: “Don’t worry, a no is a good thing! This just means you are getting closer to all those yes’s.”

But once you have 150 qualified donors in your portfolio, it becomes a game-changer for you. You are now working with donors that actually want to relate to you, they want to meet you, text you, email you, and they’ll take your phone calls!

Now, you have donors you can build relationships with and eventually help a few of them make transformational gifts for your organization.

Qualifying donors is Phase 1 of the Veritus Way. It’s a slog. It feels like you want to quit. Sometimes it feels deflating. But I implore you stay with it. From the thousands of fundraisers that have gone through it, they all come out in a better place.

Phase 2 of the Veritus Way is starting to deepen those relationships and understanding your donor’s passions and interests. You’re starting to build the value of your portfolio.

Then Phase 3 is identifying the handful of donors from your caseload of 150 who can make 6, 7, or 8 figure gifts. This is where your program really takes off.

But it all starts with qualifying. Without doing that hard work, you will never get to Phase 2 or 3.

I know you (or your manager) want the quick win. You’d love to get that big gift to somehow prove your worth or at least have others think you’re successful. That is short-term thinking. I get it and that quick win feels good. But it’s fleeting.

I want to encourage you, based on the experiences of thousands of fundraisers who have gone before you, that qualifying your portfolio will make you more successful, help your donors find joy in their giving, and ultimately bring in more net revenue for all your amazing programs.

This is the only way you will be outrageously successful.