How can we get a steady flow of major gifts?

Susan Jacobson

“It takes 28 potential donors to build a major gifts program.

For your organization to grow or to launch something new you often need an infusion of money – beyond the annual gifts that fuel your ongoing operating costs. It usually takes large, one-time gifts to do it.”

Susan Jacobson

In major gift fundraising your objective is to attract uncommonly generous contributions from a relatively small number of wealthy donors. Your success will come down to twenty-eight key donors who will make or break your goal.  The challenge is to find and build relationships with them.  


We often see nonprofits squander their major gifts potential by trying to use the same techniques that have brought them success in annual giving – only with a bigger ask.  When you raise money through direct mail, email, and fundraising events, your objective is to maximize the number of gifts while keeping in check the resources you expend. You accomplish this by soliciting money from everybody on your list in more or less the same way. 


Success in major gifts comes from taking each prospective donor on his or her own terms, and building a meaningful relationship that transfers to them a strong sense of ownership.  Careful research, tailored cultivation strategies, and the engagement of a committed Board are essential ingredients for success in major gifts.


Done right, your major gifts program will yield a steady flow of large investments that propel growth for your mission and impact.