All fund raising leads to major gift development. Here is a checklist for the development professional who is ready to take the first steps toward getting bigger gifts.
How much time do I have?
Figure out how many people you can see face-to-face each week, month, and year. Whatever that number is, find that many prospects. That’s your beginning list.
Identification – Who are my prospects?
Some you already know. To find the others, analyze giving patterns and look for things that jump out at you – a higher than average gift, an odd gift amount, unusually frequent giving.
Analysis – Linkage, Ability, Interest
Who are these people? How do they know us? How much can they give? How interested in our work are they?
Plan – Qualification, Cultivation Steps, Managing the Moves
Take the information from your analysis and create a strategy for each prospect. Then put the plan into action.
Phone calls and letters – How many?
The easy answer is: As many as you can. The harder answer is to figure out how prospect communications fits into your overall planning and the individual donor prospect plans.
Talk to your leadership
Get the leaders involved in the planning from the beginning. Make sure they understand that major gifts will not happen unless they are involved from the first contact, through the ask, to the recognition.
Find a friend, make a proposal
If you don’t have the money for a major gift program, seek a major gift to get it started. Show them how you will give them a great return on their investment.
Foundations are major gift prospects too
Treat your foundation grant operation as part of your major gift program. Cultivate each foundation as if it were a person. Get to know the program officers. Ask questions. Thank people for their help. Write a compelling letter and application.
Finally, enlist the members of your religious community or other people in your organization; development is everybody’s job.