Seeking Million-Dollar Donors
Do you want the ultimate thrill in fundraising? Try to secure your first million-dollar gift. There is nothing like the joy and relaxation following a long, stressful, uphill climb.
If you are like me, your No. 1 focus is always on the people served by the institution you represent. There is never enough money to help everyone in need. Yet, by obtaining a million-dollar gift, you feel a sense of satisfaction that is truly amazing.
I can tell you the interchange and stakes are high in generating this type of gift. You must do extensive research, be prepared for a least 50 or more "moves" by a variety of people, and create strategy involving internal and external populations. Getting this type of gift takes knowledge, experience, confidence, timing, strategy and luck. The majority of fundraising professionals never close this gift amount. Always remember it takes a team to close this gift and not just one person. Let me cite three different scenarios where I was involved in this type of close.
The first example involved a board member of a health care institution. The gentleman was a philanthropist and proud of his business success. His wife was very involved in the decision-making process. Through the years, the amount of gifts increased with my level of engagement. They truly utilized the services and physicians of the health care system. That fact was just as important as recognition for gifts made. They cared about others to a great degree. They led by example.
My board chair, key physician leader and I practiced for the big ask. Because of a number of interactions through the years, the couple was cultivated. Their personal economy was sound. The key to the request for funds on the big day was the physician telling the story. While not an immediate yes, we eventually received a seven-figure gift via personal check in the mail!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.