Major Gifts

7 Strategies Every Nonprofit Should Master in 2017
January 18, 2017 at 9:24 am

Last year, I gave you five priorities for success in 2016. I called them “Dive the Five.” This year, I’ve expanded my thinking a bit. I give you “Seven is Heaven.” I promise if you focus on these fundamental areas, you will hear the angels begin to sing and your mission will take wing. Some of these areas will seem familiar, but the way you employ them may need to be tweaked in order for you to survive and thrive...

Inequality, Inequality, Inequality: The Billionaire Philanthropists as Rich as Half the World
January 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

Oxfam today released an analysis of global wealth that suggests eight men have a combined wealth comparable to that of the poorest 3.6 billion people on the planet. The Telegraph provides interesting analysis of potential flaws in the research methodology, but what is most interesting is that these eight men, these supposed symbols of the…

Events, Major Gifts and Moving From Transactional to Transformational
January 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

I was recently talking to Susan, a development director for a regional nonprofit, and she was lamenting that she had another gala to put together. Even though this gala takes an enormous amount of time and effort from the staff, the executive director and the board want to keep it going because it brings in almost half of their revenue each year. Susan wasn’t upset about all the time and effort it took to pull it off each year, but the fact that the revenue generated by the event was really in transactional gifts, not mission-oriented gifts...

The 18 Biggest Charitable Donations of 2016
January 13, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Looking back on the philanthropic efforts of well-heeled donors over the past 12 months, it turns out that 2016 was a big year for charity. The number of big gifts last year far outshone those of 2015. By “big gifts” I mean megagifts, or charitable donations of more than $100 million. According to a recent…

Ask Prospective Donors These 8 Questions
January 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

Most fundraisers spend an inordinate amount of time and energy worrying about making the case for their organization. But a far more productive undertaking is to get to know your major donors—particularly why and how they want to give. Find that out and you’ll have a sense of what you should ask them for and…

How Events Hurt Major Gifts—And What to Do About It
January 9, 2017 at 8:00 am

What is it about nonprofit boards, leaders and staff who so easily catch events fever and lose their way on thinking objectively about this topic? If that sounds familiar—if hardly any argument or reasoning will dissuade your leaders from organizing an event—then make the best of it by doing the following...

'The James Bond of Philanthropy' Culminates Career With $7M Donation
January 4, 2017 at 10:22 am

Charles Feeney concluded his 35-year philanthropic career last month the same way he started it—with a $7 million donation to his alma mater, Cornell University. This gift mirrors a donation of the same size in 1982—Feeney’s first donation to the University—which launched the Cornell Tradition, a program that awards 500 fellowships each year to Cornell…

How to Succeed in Your First 60 days
January 3, 2017 at 11:33 am

If you or someone you know is either looking for an MGO position or just started in one, I’m going to give you a road map for what to do in your first 60 days. If you follow this road map, you will not only start out your position on the right foot, but you will also give your manager a sigh of relief and, ultimately, comfort your donors. There are two things you need to concentrate on...

Can't Afford a Major Gift Program?
December 27, 2016 at 10:30 am

I was in a meeting once with the top finance people and management of a leading national charity, and I just could not get them to see that they were losing money—that the donors at the top of their donor pyramid were giving up to 40 percent less than those same donors gave the year before...

Open Source Fundraising
December 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

2016 is ending not completely without marvel for me. Two great things happened last week. First, on Dec. 16, the family of Canadian philanthropists Larry and Judy Tanenbaum donated $20 million to create the Tanenbaum Open Institute at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Inspired by open science, these donors understand that researchers will be able…