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What do major donors really want?

Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to define what a major gift is for you. The term “major gift” means something different at every nonprofit. For example, a new start-up may consider $1,000 a major gift, while another more established nonprofit may consider $10,000 a major gift.

While there are variations to what may be considered a major gift, all nonprofits have this in common when it comes to major gift fundraising…

It takes time!

Major donors typically like to get involved slowly, learning more about the nonprofit as they go along. Major donors like to make good decisions about their investment. This takes time and communication from you! Regarding major gift fundraising, we can learn a lot from well-known Christian philanthropist David Weekley, President of the David Weekley Family Foundation.

He says “In our philanthropy, we look for three fundamental principles in an organization: High Leverage; they accomplish a lot with a little. Scalable; they have the propensity to grow to impact millions of people. Sustainable; over time their model utilizes some type of self-generating revenue.”

The David Weekley Foundation website says their strongest partners display the following traits:

A unique and well-defined mission; Excellent programs or services that clearly advance the mission; A clear path to measure results; A three to five-year strategic plan; A business model and cost structure demonstrating that the organization will make a greater impact in a more efficient way as it grows; Strong executive talent with a coachable spirit; A strong and effective Board of Directors, or a desire to establish one, and; A spiritual integration plan or willingness to create one (for our Christian partners).

These are all admirable traits and provide a great framework for any nonprofit seeking to develop and grow a major gifts program.

Remember, results take time and relationships matter.

Want to dive deeper? 

Recommended Reading: The Giver and The Gift – by Peter Greer and David Weekley


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