Surprise! You actually have plenty of major gift prospects.
Where are they?
They are hiding. Just look inside your donor files and your donor data base.
Your future major donors are right there: lurking, unidentified.
They are unnoticed because they are giving smaller gifts.
There they are, wealthy, caring donors to your cause. And you don’t even know how much potential they really have.
Here’s the good news: they are already in your bandwagon.
They are already investing in your cause. They are accessible! Hurray!
Your most likely donor is someone who has already given in the past.
Go to them first.
For-profit businesses have found that it costs about 10 times more money to secure a new customer, than it does to get more business from a current customer.
And I bet it’s the same for nonprofits, too.
It probably costs you 10 times more to find and secure a brand new donor.
So save your time and energy – go farming where the soil is most fertile. Right at home.
Work for deeper relationships with existing donors.
Look for repeat, committed donors.
Here’s the true pathway to major gifts: Find your committed donors and move them into larger gifts.
You have to pay attention to the repeat doors:
- See if you can get in front of them.
- Send them special communications. (How about an Insider newsletter?)
- Invite them to special events.
Since they are already giving consistently, you should look for indicators that they can make larger gifts.
Never make a cold call.
What are the chances of success?
If you are looking at a fast-track way to become demoralized, then make cold calls.
I always try to maximize my chance for success by having someone open the door for me – and help me meet the prospect.
That’s a much easier and more successful path to get in the door.
Look for the few mega-donors.
95% of the money comes from 2-3% of your donors.
Always narrow down your focus to a few prospects with deep pockets.
Then work hard on relationships with them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by chasing every opportunity that comes along, because you can’t manage the follow-up.
Look especially for former major donors who are not currently giving. They may be businesses, foundations, individuals, organizations, even government agencies.
See if you can pull them BACK into the fold. It’s certainly worth the effort!
Ruthlessly set priorities.
Look at your prospective donor pool.
- Who are the most ready to say yes to a gift?
- Who have the most capability to give?
Identify the critical few – those with the greatest capacity to give, and choose the most important ones to focus on.
You MUST narrow down your focus to only those critical few people, and stick to your strategy.
Set a goal to go see them and don’t let anything or anyone stop you!
Don’t forget the ladies.
Studies show that women are more charitable than men. (Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University):
- In every income category except one (the lowest income), women gave more than men (almost twice as much)
- Sixty-three percent of our nation’s capital is held by women.
Women often drive the gift. Be sure to include women in your prospect searches!
Be ready to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.
It takes lots of work, time and energy to get to know your donors well enough to find the princes in the crowd.
But it’s interesting work.
It can be fun.
And it can be frustrating too.
But remember what’s at stake. Those frog princes and princesses are just sitting there in the pond waiting to be identified.
And lord knows, your organization’s work needs the support.
So what are you waiting for?
Time to jump in the pond and start kissing those frogs! : )