How to Find New Major-Gifts Prospects
Do you keep looking and looking for new major-gifts prospects? I have a secret to share: You already have all the major-gifts prospects you need!
But here's the problem: Your major-gifts prospects are right in front of your nose. They are languishing inside your donor files — as small donors. And you probably don't know who they are! They haven't identified themselves as potential major donors.
And you're treating them like they are itsy-bitsy donors with no potential. Alas! They are probably getting routine (dull) thank-you letters and boring (at least to them) newsletters.
So how do you find the gold inside your donor files?
Here are three strategies:
- You can use WealthEngine or other resources to screen your donor lists for "wealth indicators." Problem is you end up with an overwhelming amount of data.
- You can conduct screening sessions and review lists of donors with board members or other donors. Problem is this is pretty laborious.
- You can try to connect with every single donor to your organization by making personal thank-you phone calls (or personal emails if you can't get them on the phone).
Let's focus on that last one. Who can do the calls? Fundraising staff, program staff, board members and even your CEO. These calls don't take a lot of time!
What's so wonderful about these calls? Well, for one, you can ask donors why they're giving. That's when your major-donor prospects may start talking. Perhaps you'll hear this from them: "You know, I'd like to do more."
Researcher Penelope Burk has found that approximately 2 percent to 4 percent of your donor base will be major-gifts prospects. She said in an Association of Fundraising Professionals' presentation that the percentages hold for both large and small organizations.
Pay all your donors special attention, and you'll probably find all the major-gifts prospects you need.
You can read more about how to set up board members to make thank-you phone calls to donors here.