Should You Stop Mixing Major Donor Fundraising with Regular Solicitations?

Here’s a tough question: when it comes to major donor fundraising, should you stop soliciting donors via regular email and direct mail channels once you’ve started to nurture them with a major gift officer?

The answer, given by both The Agitator and Veritus Group is a resounding no.

At AFP this year, I listened to a great presentation by Gail Perry and Dawn Price where they shared about a major donor who got plugged into a nonprofit by volunteering to manage a low-level program. The donor became more and more involved in the organization (and more and more generous, too) and started contributing to high-level programs. The staff made a decision to pass off the low-level program to someone else to free up the donor’s time to work on the higher level programs–and then they lost the donor’s support.

See the problem? You don’t want to unintentionally disconnect a donor from what made them passionate about an organization in the first place. Many $25 contributors become major donors because they’re compelled by your newsletters and solicitations–so why stop that when you’re giving them personal attention?

As Veritus Group puts it:

Over time, as the relationship builds, the communication strategy migrates or skews toward personal solicitation vs. mail or email.

This sometimes takes years. It’s really up to the donor. We cannot assume that donors do not want to receive your appeals and e-mails until they tell you they don’t. This is what it means to be donor-centered, NOT fundraising program centered.

Being donor-centered is what it’s all about. Don’t make assumptions for your donors.

To learn more, check out the discussion at The Agitator and Veritus Group.


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

May 3, 2013

You May Also Enjoy

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.