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This is part three in a series of ten on how to make major gift asks. To read part one, Starting your Major Gifts Program, go here. To read part two, Who is a major donor, go here.

After you’ve researched your prospect, through combing your database, or through looking at annual reports of other, similar nonprofits, or through paying a prospect researcher to find this prospect, the next step is engaging the donor.

So, I know it’s scary, but pick up the phone.

When you make your major gifts call,

First, Thank your prospect for their time and past support

Indicate the time frame you’re working in

Ask what they know about the organization

Add to that knowledge

Invite them to participate fully

Show them how they can make it happen

Thank them again and again.

From Judith Nichols, New Directions in Philanthropy, judnich@aol.com.

Judith Nichols is a development practitioner, author and consultant with a variety of not-for-profit clients across the USA, Canada, Australia, South America, the United Kingdom, and Europe. A highly respected researcher, trainer and presenter, she specializes in helping organizations understand the implications of our changing demographics and psychographics on fundraising, marketing, and membership. Dr. Nichols has been a featured speaker and trainer at numerous conferences, workshops, and symposia.

Her latest book is Pinpointing Affluence in the 21st Century.