Major Gifts

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

A Major Plus for Major Gifts
June 1, 2006

Many organizations have successfully used the Internet for direct-response and special-events fundraising, but few have tapped its potential for major giving. The question nonprofit professionals should ask is whether online marketing and constituent relationship management can support major-donor identification and cultivation.

Historically, major-gift efforts primarily have sourced donors two ways: referrals from key donors and board members; and direct-mail programs.

The "Up and Out" Fallacy
March 1, 2006

I’ve heard the explanation so many times now that I’m sick of it. It goes something like this: “When our direct-mail donors give more than $1,000 in a single year, we move them out of the regular mail program and over to the upper-level or even the major-donor program. They deserve special treatment.”

The dollar threshold might be different from organization to organization, but the underlying thinking is the same: Once donors reach a certain giving level, they need to be “protected” from the regular direct-mail appeal program.

2006--The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
December 28, 2005

2006: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly FS Advisor: Jan. 3, 2006 By Abny Santicola, associate editor, FundRaising Success An increase in accountability and a decrease in government funding are just two of the major challenges that nonprofits will face in 2006, according to Anthony Knerr, founder and managing director of New York-based nonprofit strategic consultancy Anthony Knerr & Associates, which works with nonprofit organizations on issues of strategic positioning, program development and global campaigns. Here, Knerr’s take on some hot-button issues looming on the horizon for the new year: Accountability and transparency: “I think there’s going to be more demand for and

Worth The Gamble
November 1, 2005

Las Vegas: known for its high rollers, Elvis impersonators, and Siegfried and Roy. But now the glitzy city also is attracting attention for a major philanthropic success.


My Big, Fat, Greek Donor Base
October 1, 2005

Universities traditionally have the most luck in their development strategies among people with close ties to the school — such as alumni and parents of students. But a concerted effort to solicit donations within the community (regardless of its educational ties to the college) has brought to fruition a philosophy professor’s dream of the University of California, San Diego, becoming a world-class leader in Greek studies.