For the past decade, individual donor contributions made to nonprofits constituted more of the average nonprofit’s revenue than all other sources combined. Individual donor development is essential to any nonprofit seeking sustainability and scale. Though small in number at any given organization, major donors represent a key constituency among your individual-giving pool—providing larger gifts, sustained gifts (with proper stewardship), access to greater networks and visibility for further volunteer and donor cultivation.
Building relationships with donors and prospects is one of the most important things nonprofits can do to ensure fundraising success. To do this, strong development practitioners use a combination of art and science in research processes, and cultivation skills including personalized communications, consistent contact and stewardship, and an excellent development strategy tied to organizational goals.
In this new series, responding to giving trends in Georgia right now, you will gain a complete understanding of major donors, including defining “major” for your organization, establishing goals related to organizational opportunities and capacity, identifying and cultivating prospects, making the ask, and stewardship.
- Trends in major gifts/donors
- Donor segmentation and defining “major” for your organization
- Identifying potential major donors and planning for targeted engagement
- Making major-gift asks, overcoming resistance, and having Plan B
- Tools and systems for managing major donors within your larger fundraising/development office
- Fundraising and development staff
- Marketing/communications staff
- Senior leadership
- Board members, especially serving on fundraising committees
FND 230 | Fundamentals of Major Giving
The size of major gifts is relative to each organization. It’s their respective impact relative to the budget that makes the difference at organizations of all sizes. Major gifts offer a deeper opportunity for donor engagement and impact, and transformation and acceleration for organizations and their clients. How does major giving fit into the sector’s broader fundraising landscape? How do major donors see themselves, and what do they expect from organizations they are involved with? How can organizations drive the conversation while meeting the interests of both itself and major donors?
FND 231 | Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Donor Prospecting
Prospect research is a technique used by development teams to learn more about the personal backgrounds, giving histories, wealth indicators, and philanthropic motivations of your donors, allowing you to evaluate a prospect’s capacity to give and their affinity for your organization. This course enables you to create efficient, compelling, and numerous opportunities for donors to support your organization through the successful management of the development department.
FND 232 | The Art of the Ask: Donor Cultivation
Major donors require more individual attention than the donor reached primarily through your annual campaign. You must be intentional in your engagement of major-donor prospects, including clear roles and responsibilities for your staff, board, and other members of your major-giving outreach. You need the appropriate person making the appropriate ask at the appropriate time and place. With proper planning, you will be ready to answer questions (or commit to getting the answer and getting back to them) and route prospects toward a secondary giving or engagement opportunity if the initial ask does not stick.
FND 233 | Now What?: Donor Stewardship
Stewardship is critically important in that it ensures that the donor has a positive experience, influencing both how the donor will consider future giving and what the donor will say about your institution to other prospective donors. An effective strategy for donor engagement and retention requires consistent planning and continuous action. With this course, you’ll understand how to develop your donor pipeline and move people through it, with techniques like regular contact and growth monitoring.
- Coming soon
Thanks to the generous support of The Wells Fargo Foundation, GCN offers a limited number of partial scholarships for staff and board members of eligible organizations to attend Nonprofit University. Learn more