Major Gifts

How to Lose Your Major Donors
May 1, 2008

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are the proud owner of five franchise fast-food restaurants around town. All five of your restaurants — let’s call them Uncle Jeff’s Greaseburgers — faithfully follow the famous Uncle Jeff’s formula. The menu, marketing and décor are exactly the same. For reasons you haven’t yet figured out, Uncle Jeff’s No. 3 generates twice the revenue of any of the others. Month in and month out, restaurant No. 3 is pouring revenue onto your bottom line. What does a smart franchisee do? One thing I’m sure you won’t do is make big changes to Uncle Jeff’s No. 3.

Personalization for Board Members and Major-Gifts Officers
November 20, 2007

“[To make a ‘human case’ for your mission when approaching major donors], you must know your ‘product.’ That is, you must be familiar with the aims of your organization, who it serves, how it affects people’s lives, and you must have a real sense of your prospects’ needs, wants, hopes and ambitions. “Attempt to identify one or two possible projects that match what you believe are your prospect’s interests. Then, after gaining support for your organization’s overall mission, present these projects, document their need, and show the benefits that will result if either or both are funded. “Be sure the projects are challenging,

IFC Roundup: Major Donors — The Personal View
October 30, 2007

[Chris Carnie is founder of Factary, Europe’s only consultancy focused on strategic funders — major donors, foundations, companies and government. It operates from bases in Spain, Belgium and the U.K. At the 27th International Fundraising Congress, which took place in the Netherlands last week, Chris and colleague Martine Godefroid presented a session titled Major Donors — The Personal View. Here, he presents a synopsis of that session.] It’s hard to start a major-donor program if you don’t know what a major donor looks like. That’s why we invited a philanthropist and an advisor to philanthropic families to give us their personal views at last

Prospect Research: What You Don’t Know — and How It Can Hurt You
August 1, 2007

A few years ago, one of my clients requested rush research on a prospective donor. The client, a development officer at an independent school, explained that the headmaster was planning to meet with a parent to ask for a gift. He believed that the prospective donor had the capacity to make a $300,000 gift, but the development officer thought the number might be higher.

Focus On: Grants
June 1, 2007

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.” It’s important to remember that when you submit a grant proposal.

The proposal frequently is an agency’s first contact with a potential funder, so a lot rides on your written request. We’ve identified 10 common flaws found in proposals. Eliminate them, and your grant applications will be more competitive.

The Three R’s of Fundraising Success
April 9, 2007

Perhaps I’m dating myself by conjuring the age-old axiom about the most important subjects in grade school being the three R’s of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. But in today’s frantic pace of fundraising, a new trio of R’s easily emerges and takes center stage. First and foremost are RELATIONSHIPS. The essence of the fundraising process, no matter what the methodology, are the relationships we build. Many of us honed our ability to build donor relationships via our own relationship with one or more mentors. I personally can thank so many key individuals in the nonprofit sector for fulfilling that role for

Knock Their Socks Off
March 1, 2007

As a fundraiser, you often have to try and influence people: when you’re asking a major donor to help your cause; when you’re trying to get your colleagues to back your plan; when you need to persuade the board to adopt a strategic approach.

In each case, there are times when the influence message seems to arrive easily and times when “they” just don’t seem to understand. In “The Magic of Influence,” to be published by Wiley later this year, we explore how a range of psychological techniques can help fundraisers trying to win over others. This article explores one of these techniques — perceptual positions.

Helping Your High-dollar Donors to Stand Out
September 1, 2006

The wonders of online marketing give nonprofits the ability to reach out to millions of potential donors. But organizations seeking major and planned gifts often struggle with prioritizing the large amounts of data that result. It’s no great surprise that, after a while, all that data starts to run together and all those donors start to look alike.

Talking Back
June 1, 2006

What has been your organization’s major challenge when it comes to soliciting major gifts? — FS Advisor, March 14