Getting (and keeping!) major gift donors requires a commitment on your part to a long-term, deeper relationship. While segments of annual fund gifts can be solicited in a more broad-based appeal approach, major gifts require a courtship that takes time, persistence, and a commitment to the relationship. 

Step One: Start the relationship on solid ground at the first meeting. Know as much as possible about your prospect before the meeting. Be prepared to answer any questions regarding your organization. 

Step Two: Strengthen your relationship through more face-to-face meetings. Bring them onsite, meet at their home or office, have telephone conversations, and write hand-written notes. Discover their interests; ask them about how they see their legacy. During this time be prepared to face difficult conversations as the prospect feels more comfortable in expressing any concerns they may have with the organization.

Step Three: Move the relationship into the ask phase. Provide them with the opportunity to translate their personal interests into a gift that meets the needs of your organization. Make certain they are asked by the right person, at the right time, for the right project, and the right amount.   

Step Four: Maintain the relationship by having a communication system in place. Send quarterly updates and newsworthy stories and continue the personalized attention. If it’s appropriate, have someone who benefits from your organization’s services write them a note to tell them how grateful they are.   

Once you’ve mastered these steps, congratulations! You are now in a committed relationship that benefits both your organization and your donor.

Article written by: Lauren Hammond, Senior Consultant

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(Proverbs 11:25)

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