The Basics of Major-Gifts Fundraising
(Beginning with this post, Jeff Schreifels and I are going to be writing about major-gifts fundraising — what works, what doesn't. We're going to cover some basic topics, you might say no-brainers, that hardly anyone actually pays attention to. And then there will be those topics that few want to talk about publicly but that rattle around every major-gifts shop in the world. So stay tuned in for a fun and informative ride. Look for a fresh Connections blog post every Monday, and write to us about what you would like us to cover. We'd be happy to look at it.)
You will not believe the times we have heard a manager say something like: "Yeah, we realized we needed a major-gifts program, so we just started one!"
The leader of the organization was at some conference and heard about major gifts, came home, grabbed his development director, and said, "Just hire someone, and get going." As if the money will flow like water out of a tap. And then people like us come along and rain on the parade with statements and questions like:
- "We should look at how you are organized to make sure it can actually work."
- "What kind of donors do you have?"
- "What do you need the money for?"
- "Is there any talent in the wings, and do those people have experience?"
- "What program needs do you have that will make a compelling ask?"
- "It will probably take eight months or more to get a talented major-gifts officer (MGO) up and running. Can you wait that long?"
The fact is that doing major gifts right is a long and tedious process and involves a lot of steps — steps that if not followed will undermine the MGO's ability to raise money. Just because you have a great cause and a good-hearted and even talented MGO does not mean your major-gifts program will be successful.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.