Major Gifts and Planned Giving

Yesterday, Beth Regedanz, led attendees through a quick overview of Major and Planned Gifts. While her vast experience, many successes, and generous humor make her a great teacher, Beth’s insistence on two things opened the topic up for beginners:

1. She’s made every mistake you can make. No sweat. She’s still breathing and laughing, we might add, and has had much success connecting individuals to missions.

2. Beth insists that fundraisers follow their own style, their own personality and add this to the lists, tips, and processes she teaches. Throughout the program, she repeatedly suggested, “Make it your own” because it has to be your own to be natural, to be successful, to feel right.

Click the image to view the PowerPoint show.

Major and Planned Gifts

Online Major Gifts and Planned Giving Resources

The term “major gift” is subjective. A gift that could transform your organization might be an average gift for another organization. One donor’s perception of a major gift could be far less than another major donor’s definition of a major gift. The real spark happens when both the organization and the donor are on the same page with what makes a gift a major gift. Discuss with your donor the kinds of gifts that could strengthen the organization and bolster its presence in the community.

Sternberg, Dave and Nick Parkevich
Major Gifts: It’s Not the Donation Amount that Matters—it’s the Strength of the Relationship

“Major donor” is an individual or family with the potential to make or procure a gift which would have a significant impact on the work of the organisation. . . The gift may be of capital, revenue, time or influence.”
Institute of Fundraising – UK based – Code of Fundraising Practice – Major Donors

Online resources for further study

Bristol, Ellen
Three Simple Questions That Establish Donor Trust” a PDF from the Bristol Strategy Group website
• The Success Question: “What do you want to achieve?”
• The Frustration Question: “What do you want to avoid?”
• The “Right-Charity” Question: “What helps you decide which charities to support?”

Chamberlain, Mary
Prospect Research Program Resources
Mary led our May 23@4 program and it is posted at this link with links to many online resources for prospect research.

Dove, Kent
Major Giving’s High Ceiling—Tips on Cultivation” on AFP website
(1) have the right person
(2) ask the right donor
(3) for the right amount
(4) for the right project
(5) at the right time
(6) with the right approach

Klein, Kim
Getting Major Gifts” – a PDF
“The underlying premise of major gifts fundraising is that the most effective way to raise money is for one person to give a gift and then to ask a peer to make a similar commitment.”

1) Chances higher through this method than direct mail, phone, or media ads
2) Size also likely higher
3) Chance of repeat or upgrade gift also higher

Lawson, David
For Fundraisers It Is Best Not to Mix Love, Intentions and Money” on

• Propensity – You can love or hate coffee.
• Affinity – You can love or hate Starbucks.
• Capacity – You can afford Starbucks or not.

Nakoneshny, Nicole
Creating a Healthy Prospect Pipeline” on AFP website
• Active prospects at all gift levels.
• Active prospects at all stages of the development cycle.
• New prospects are added regularly.
• Prospects are moving through the pipeline.
• Access to good data.

Perry, Gail
5 Insanely Successful Ideas for Getting the Appointment with Your Major Gift Prospect
on Fired-Up Fundraising blog
1- Thank you
2- Advice
3- “Get to know you”
4- “Would you be interested in learning more?”
5- “I have an idea I want to run by you.”

Top 10 Trends: How Major Donors are Changing and What To Do About It
1. Donors are wary of trusting us.
2. The Boomers are becoming the #1 donor population.
3. Older ladies are THE major donor demographic.
4. Donors want Donor-Centered communications.
5. Major donors who volunteer give more. Much more.
6. Major donors are all over social media.
7. Major donors look at their gifts as investments. They want to see impact and ROI.
8. Major donors are assured when they see the financials and the numbers.
9. Like most of us, donors are feeling overwhelmed, jaded, and even bored.
10. Major donors love a Big Idea.

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Women Give 2012 Research Paper

***Updated to include: Gift Acceptance Policies from the National Council of Nonprofits

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