Do YOU Need a Major Gifts Attitude Adjustment?

By: Samantha Tokarczyk

businessman and dollars

For a majority of nonprofits, their major gifts program contributes a greater outcome for their fundraising budget’s dollar, costing only five to 10 percent for every dollar received, compared to 25 to 30 percent for annual or direct mail fundraising. For guidance on how to decide where to focus your restricted time and resources, check your organizations donor management system for giving history. Determine who your higher-dollar and long-term donors are and pay close attention to them. They are your best prospects.

Prior to you and your team making that big ask, check your unified prospecting attitudes and accommodate accordingly for maximum success. According to Iris Sutcliffe in her article on Network for Good, she mentions three ways to reframe fundraising to get everyone’s head in the game.

1. Major donations are an investment in time and relationshipsphoto-1429681601148-75510b2cef43

Building relationships always comes first and money second, when it comes to asking a major donor for a large gift. It is important to understand that you are investing your time, not spending your time, to learn about your donor in order to build a solid relationship. Invest in building relationships and the money will follow.

2. Fundraising does not equate to “selling”

Fundraising is not a sales pitch. There is no need for a fancy presentation to “sell” your cause to your donor. Surprisingly, a major gift is not about the money! It is about welcoming a charitable person into your organization, allowing them to feel like a knowledgeable insider, who is passionate and supportive of your mission.

3. Your individual attitudes about money make a difference

It is really common for people to hold notions that “people with money” are different or intimidating or even unpleasant. Perhaps you dislike the idea of asking people for money, for it is distasteful or inappropriate. Now is the time to rid these encumbrances’. To have a million-dollar fundraising mindset you must have a positive attitude about money and the people who have it to give.

Your high-dollar donors and low-dollar donors all want to make a difference in the world and feel good financially helping your nonprofit succeed in its mission. The only difference is high-dollar donors have an increased capacity for financially supporting your organization. Through your major gift ask you are allowing them the opportunity to make a difference and feel pleased about it.



About the writer: Samantha Tokarczyk is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Ethics and Public Policy with a certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy Communications. She intends to continue working with animal welfare nonprofits, as well as attend law school after graduation.


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