How Do I Identify Major Gift Prospects?
The first step in major gift solicitation for your nonprofit organization is to identify major gift prospects, that is,
those individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations capable of making gifts of $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 and above.
Some organizations use prospect research vendors to scan an existing donor base and identify wealth markers. These services
are only tools that provide additional information - some very good information and some very susceptible to error. Be careful
of "modeled" data that provides a best guess and not hard facts. There is a place for modeled data but it is not reliable
on its own. The best way to get good information on prospects is to run your list of names in front of people with knowledge
of local business, banking, and investing. While confidentiality is critical, many bankers, lawyers and business persons will
be able to provide clues to the ability of the people they recognize. Often those who serve on the boards of other nonprofit
organizations or have worked on previous fundraising campaigns will also gain knowledge in those roles that will help them
to provide a guess at the ability of a prospect to give in your nonprofit organization's fundraising projects.
Consider these ideas
for your next fundraising campaign:
with your fundraising: Across the board, whether it's direct mail, personal solicitation, special events, grants,
or telemarketing, the ASK of your fundraising message must relate to the donors or the corporations unique interests. Consider
how you can personalize each Ask in your fundraising message.
questions in your fundraising message: Your fundraising message should answer: Why you need the funds, what the
funds will be used for, and when the funds will be spent. A good "rule of thumb" for fundraising is that the more you ask
for, the more information and education you need to provide potential donors.
Ask for the
Right Amount: Don't ask for so much that its an embarrassment. There is nothing wrong with stretching a donors financial
limits when asking for an upgraded or larger gift. Yet, its important that the stretch not be overwhelming. If you can't afford
the prospect research to determine a giving level for an individual, consider providing two or more financial levels to choose
Opportunities to Give: Repeat the ask. You dont need to be a broken record, just gently repetitive and creative.
Make the Ask a part of the newsletter, the website, the annual meeting, the special fundraising event and more. This communication
should be more than an Ask, as stated above. Create stories and statements in your fundraising message that are emotional,
funny, rewarding, and inspiring. How can a donor resist?
Non-Profit Development Specialist
PO Box 56
Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449
Rules for Being a Good Fundraiser
These are just some things to consider.
1. Ask for a gift, don't wait. Another
will ask if you don't.
2. Be professional and look professional.
3. Be accountable - personally, and
for your nonprofit.
4. Be honest. Listen to your heart;
it's more honest than your mind.
5. Speak with conviction for your
6. If you can't, recruit someone
7. A prospect is simply a donor without
motivation. You provide motivation.
8. A donor is a fundraiser who has
yet to share their conviction with a friend. Ask them to.
9. A good fundraiser, then, is a
friendly motivator. It's that simple.
10. A successful fundraiser has thick
skin, a soft heart, exceptional hearing, a quick mind, a slow tongue and no shame - at least when it comes to asking for a
Fundraising is both an art and a science. If your
fundraising revenues are static or declining, your organization is probably making one or more of these common mistakes:
- Lack of planning
- Repeating the same old fundraiser
- Not recruiting enough help
- Weak internal communication
- Lack of publicity
- Continuous fundraising
- Bad timing
- Picking the wrong fundraiser
Need help with fundraising or managing your next capital campaign? Contact Advantage Consulting!