So many of us think about increasing their major gift program and end up scratching our heads. How do we find donors that can make a major gift? Where do we look for donors whose gift can leveraged to create the most incredible impact in our organization?
If you’ve found yourself in this position, you may be surprised. Your donors may be closer than you think!
Five Place to Look For Your Major Gift Donors:
- Lapsed major donors – nearly every non-profit has large donors who’ve lost touch or have not made a contribution in a year or so. To reconnect, don’t feel bad for losing touch. Simply introduce yourself, thank them for their gift in the past, apologize for losing touch and then, simply talk with them. Ask what made them give to the organization when they did. Listen and learn. It’s amazing what you will find out. They may even ask you about what’s happening now, which provides the best opportunity to share your growth, successes, and tell one meaningful story.
- Current mid-level donors – Let’s agree, there are donors on your list that have a greater capacity to give than they have done in the past. You probably know them and understand something about their giving patterns. This is another opportunity to get to know them better. The same questions you asked your lapsed would be great in this conversation, too. Once you get to know what they’re passionate about, you can begin to tailor their experience of your organization around those things.
- Former board members – These are folks who deeply love and are committed to your organization. Hopefully, they didn’t reach burn out, and hopefully, they left on great terms! Don’t treat them like they’re just one of the pack – they are more aligned and have a stronger knowledge base about your organization than any other donor. Many would love to get back involved but just need to be encouraged to do so.
- Philanthropists in your own community – Our biggest philanthropists can feel so far away and unapproachable, no doubt.
In order to be an effective fundraiser, you have to bury your fear and just pick up the phone.
Start somewhere. Leave an engaging message if they don’t answer and let them know you’ll be calling again. Once you’ve gotten someone on the phone you can talk about how you feel your organization may be interesting to their foundation and why. Sometimes it works well to ask for their input or advice. If there is an initial interest shown, invite her to come and see you first-hand, or to a more intimate conversation over coffee.
- Smaller donors – When someone’s giving makes an unexpected jump, you can bet they are a potential mid-level or major gift donor. Find out what is behind the increase and ask about their personal story. Discover what they care most about. You’d be surprised how many potential major gift donors are right under your nose!