5 Ways to Draw Mega, Major Donors Close to Your Cause in 2017

Here’s the third in my series of state-of-the-art fundraising tips for 2017: How to draw mega donors closer to your cause.

There’s new thinking out there about cultivating prospective major donors.

And it centers on this: How do you develop a cordial relationship with your donors and still keep them moving towards a gift?

How do you balance the personal relationship vs. your true business purpose?

That’s what we’re exploring today.

Remember, I’m sending you a series of emails this week:

(Strategy #1) 5 Steps to Give Your Board Members a Mental Makeover about Fundraising in 2017

(Strategy #2) 5 Steps to Create a Highly Profitable Fundraising Plan in 2017

(Strategy #3) 5 Ways to Draw Mega, Major Donors Close to Your Cause in 2017

(Strategy #4) 5 Tips to Nail State-of-the-Art Online Fundraising in 2017

(Strategy #5) 5 Steps to Build Your Donor Loyalty and Retention in 2017

(Strategy #6) 5 Tips to Help You Nail Face to Face Asks for Big Gifts in 2017

(Strategy #7) 5 Steps to Build a Dynamite Fundraising Infrastructure in 2017

Why am I sending you all of this? To give you a taste of what it’s like to be a member of our INSIDERS community.

If you join our community now, you get webinars, downloads and monthly group coaching calls with me.

You’ll also get: The Top 10 Traits of Successful Major Gift Negotiators – with Eli Jordfald, CFRE who’s recently closed several 7 figure gifts, and myself. We’d love to share this deep learning with you and your team!


Here are my five tips to bring your major donors closer to your CAUSE and closer to a GIFT.

1. Adapt your approach to your donor’s personality.

Some people are all business and others are social. Some are dominant and others are emotional. Some are big picture and others are nit-picky.

Everybody’s different – that’s what makes major gift fundraising so interesting to me!

Do you remember the basic personality tests? Myers-Briggs and DISC?

Try to evaluate your donor’s personality and style based on one of these tests.

It’s really important to adapt your approach to your donor. If you have an all-business donor then you need to be all-business too.

Otherwise you’ll miss connections with your donor, and communicating about a gift will be difficult.

2. Find out your donor’s hot buttons.

The first thing you need to do once you have a “qualified prospect” is to find out what they are interested in. Over and over, I see fundraisers missing this hugely important step.

You must, must find out their passion. Otherwise it’s very difficult to bring them closer to a gift.

Are they interested in families, or is it kids? Is it the educational aspect of your work, or is it the safety net aspect?

Do they prefer hanging out with your CEO and discussing the big picture? Or do they like to hear from program officers about work out there in the field?

Once you find out your donors’ hot buttons, you can develop a personalized cultivation program for them that they’ll really enjoy.

They’ll like you even more.

Why? Because you are helping them learn more and explore exactly what turns them on.

3. Put big ideas in front of your donor.

I’ll never forget a newspaper article about Stanford University when it became the first university to raise a billion dollars.

And here’s what the reporter said about the billion dollar campaign:

They “had very big ideas about what Stanford could do and be in the world.”

Sooooo –your takeaway on this one?

What are YOUR organization’s Big Ideas? What does YOUR organization want to do and be in the world?

Engage your major donor there and you’ll create lots of energy and excitement. And your donor will want to be part of it all.

4. Make your donor happy.

If your donor is not enjoying his or her experience with your organization, then all is lost.

The point of all this cultivation is to help your donor explore his or her deep interests and passions.

You are all about your donor. Their likes and dislikes. Their style and personality. The things they care deeply about.

And they will ENJOY this experience!

The major/mega donors I have worked with in my career were interesting, quirky, passionate people. I always knew where they stood, because they told me.

And I always made sure they were happy.

5. Get your donor excited about the impact he or she can make.

It’s always, always about the impact.

You can talk about your donor’s family, pets, vacations – or you can talk about the amazing work you are doing and the change your nonprofit makes in the world.

Better yet, you can talk about the impact that your lovely donor could make with her gift.

How could she help people? How can she make a difference? How can SHE change the world through her gift?

Here’s the place that most exciting of all for your donor.

Keep her there, and your major gift won’t be too far behind.

So there you are. You have my brand new 5 tips for drawing your major donor closer to your cause.

What do you think? I’d love to know.

And don’t forget to join our INSIDERS community during our February membership sale. Our prices will never be this low again.

Do have a lovely Tuesday no matter where you are in the world.

I hope you always always know how much you are appreciated. You are doing wildly important work. It’s my honor to serve you and your cause.