Major gifts are the largest donations an organization receives. Depending on the organization a major gift might be $500 or $100,000. Typically 80% of donations come from 20% of donors, so identifying, cultivating and retaining major gift donors should be a priority for your organization.
Major gift prospects are people who are likely to support your organization either because they identify with your cause or know someone connected to you. They may be among your current donors. Canvass your staff and volunteers to see who they know. Use the internet to research potential major gift donors.
Cultivation is the process that leads up to the “ask” for a major gift. It’s an opportunity to introduce prospects to your organization and the work you do, and to learn about their specific areas of interest. Good cultivation involves opportunities for a prospect to engage with your organization whether through introductions to the leadership of your organization, invitations to events, or an opportunity to see your work in action. Remember you are in the hunt for a major gift so it’s time well invested.
Every “ask” will have a different strategy but the common elements are: