This is part one in a series of ten on major gifts.

What are major gifts? Gifts that make a significant difference for your organization. Why pursue leadership or major gifts? Because this is the way you can get money in the shortest amount of time with the least cash outlay by your nonprofit.

What if you’ve never done major gifts before? That’s okay. Start where you are.

First know that your biggest obstacle is going to be your own and other people’s unwillingness to ask.

Why are we afraid to ask?

  • We fear being offensive
  • We don’t think our organizations are deserving
  • We fear being rejected.

Once you’ve gotten over that,

Here are 3 objectives of a major gift program.

1. Treat donors as individuals, seek to understand their motivations, needs, and interests.
2. Make your donor feel recognized and valued.
3. Bring the donor closer to the cause and specific aspects that interest him or her.

Asking is advocacy. Ask for those who can’t ask. Ask for people who don’t have access to these donors.

Why do people give?
1. Belief in the mission of the organization.
2. Community responsibility and civic pride
3. Fiscal stability of the institution
4. Volunteer and Staff Leadership
5. Service on a board or committee

-Jerry Panas, Mega Gifts

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.