Major Gifts: How To Get More Of Them For Your Nonprofit
Many nonprofit organizations focus their attention on annual giving programs, such as, direct mail and special events. Yet neglect setting up an effective major gift program, or if they have a major gift solicitation program they fail to effectively implement it to it?s full potential. If you are currently focusing on annual giving, then you are not getting all the funding you could get from an effective major gift program, and you are making a big mistake.
Because an ongoing and effective major gift solicitation program can, and will produce a very large block of capital for your nonprofit organization on a regular basis. And such a program can give your organization these funds with a relatively small investment of time and money being needed, as compared to the return you will get.
Here are some guidelines to help you set up your major gift program, or obtain more funds from the program you are already using:
1. Set up a major gift committee, which should include your board chairman, two or three other board members, and your executive director. This committee could also include two or three community leaders or movers and shakers in your community. With the main idea here being that those who solicit major gifts for your organizations should be at or near the same social-economic level as those they will be soliciting for major gifts.
2. Survey your universe of major donors and donor prospects by carefully reviewing your own donor data bases for moderate donors with a regular history of making larger than usual gifts, and of course those who have already made major gifts to your organization.
3. Develop a questionnaire for your board members, key staff members, and volunteers leaders to list their banker, insurance rep, doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant, as well as their spouse, and their family, friends, and associates who are capable of making a major gifts, and might be solicited to do so. This list should also be supplemented with names from printed sources of information such as published information on major gifts made in your area, local society columns for people of note and etc.
4. Make sure that your major gift committee knows the basics of major gift solicitation techniques. If not, you?ll need to conduct a training program of some kind for them. This could be a short four hour seminar or workshop that?s held on a weekday evening or weekend afternoon, and it should cover the three main areas of gifts solicitation which is the approach, the presentations, and the ask (close).
5. Draft as many of the documents you?ll need for your major gift program as possible before you need them in the form of templates. Which will include such items as development proposals, case statements, network solicitation letters where you have a network connection to the prospective donor, cold solicitation letters when you have no network contact, follow up letters for both those who made gifts and who declined at this time, and etc.
7. Develop a major gift solicitation funding plan which will include a timeline, and how many gifts will be solicited each week, month, quarter, and for the year, as well as who will make what solicitations to whom. And be sure that each member of your major gift committee has already been solicited for their gifts before they attempt to solicit others.
8. Implement your funding plan and keep your plan on track by holding regular major gift solicitation committee meetings with task action minutes as to who is supposed to do what and by when. And be sure to keep good prospect solicitation records on each contact made, including the results, and any needed follow up and when.
A well planned and well ran major gift solicitation can produce an extremely large amount of funding for your nonprofit organization year after year. And the results you can obtain with such a program can be astronomical when you compare the small amount of time and funds you must invest to get these results. That makes setting up a major gift program, or more effectively implementing your current program a very wise investment for your nonprofit organization.
About the Author: Berwyn J. Kemp is a development consultant who helps nonprofit organizations obtain funding. For free subscription to his newsletter Nonprofit Funding Solutions, or full details on his funding products and services, or to read more of his re-printable articles you can visit: http://www.berwynkempassoc.citymax.com/