Amy Eisenstein is an ACFRE certified development professional and fundraising consultant. She’s worked with nonprofits of all sizes for the last 15 years. Her specialty? Major gifts.
When dealing with major gifts, it’s important to remember these four steps:
1. Have a private face-to-face meeting
This is a must. You cannot discuss a major gift in a group setting. This can be at the beginning of your cultivation or toward the end, but you cannot get around it. More than one person can go on a face-to-face meeting—usually a board member and the executive director or development director. The meeting can take place at the prospect’s home or office and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
2. Invite them to see your program in action
Persuade each of your prospects to take a tour, visit a program, or attend an event. Choose something you think will have the greatest impact on that individual.
3. Engage your prospects to volunteer
Invite your prospects to volunteer. On a committee, in the office, in direct service, one-time or ongoing. Volunteering brings people closer to your organization and makes them more inclined to give.
4. Provide regular updates
Updates about your programs and services can be delivered by phone, email, in-person, or a handwritten note. Updates should be delivered twice annually to all prospects on your list.
But before you jump into it, you should know where to start.
Randy and Amy talk about cultivating donors and mistakes you should avoid. They also talk about how to set up meetings with potential donors and the best ways to measure success.
Speaking of setting up a meeting with a potential donor, it’s important to allocate your time and focus on cultivation.
Amy recently launched a major gifts challenge on her website. It’s a free challenge that encourages you to set aside time every day to focus on building up your donor base and taking large steps towards attaining major gifts.
To get started, watch each video in the series. Start with the first one and go in numerical order. New videos will appear each week throughout 2017. Commit at least a few hours each week (5 hours is ideal) to taking the recommended action. This step is critical—if you don’t take action, you won’t see results. And share your progress in the comments section; if you add a comment at the end of each post Amy will offer free advice to keep your efforts on track.
Remember—it’s never too late to start raising major gifts!