The summer has flown by and the kids are back to school. It’s now time to think about your year-end fundraising.
Statistics show that most organizations will raise up to 60% or more of their total fundraising in the last few months of the year, so the fall is always a very critical time of year.
Although raising major gifts is a lengthy process, you may be further along than you think…
5 Steps to Year-End Major Gift Fundraising
Fall is the perfect time of year to ask your committed donors and volunteers for a major gift. Here are five practical strategies to get you off on the right foot.
1. Get your board on board.
First, get everyone on board with your major gift fundraising.
Call together your board president and development committee chair (if you have one), executive committee members and other key board members. If necessary, have the meeting by phone. Let them know that you want to raise major gifts this fall and ask how they might be able to help.
Would they be willing to schedule meetings or attend them?
Board members need to understand that asking individual donors for gifts must be a key strategy for raising more money this year. And, they should be the first to step up with major gifts of their own.
2. Create a case for support.
If you don’t already have a case for support, now’s the time to create one.
On two pages, answer theses two questions:
- Why us?
- Why now?
Create a sense of urgency. Why is this major gift campaign important now? And, why should they care?
Demonstrate impact. How will their gift make a difference?
3. Prepare a short list.
Put together a list of 10 to 20 of your most committed donors and volunteers.
Then, after you’ve assembled all the names, start paring down your list. Cross off anyone who is unlikely to give (for various reasons).
4. Call the people on your list.
Reach out to those 10 to 20 people and ask them for a meeting to discuss the future of the organization and how they can help.
Don’t beat around the bush. Tell them exactly why you’re calling. Let them know you’d like to discuss their gift to the organization -– but you’d like to do it in person.
5. Ask for a gift.
Guess what? It’s okay to admit you’re nervous. If you are, say so… your donor may be too.
Let them know that you are not accustomed to asking for such large donations (if you’re not), but that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in an effort to take the organization to the next level (this is where the importance of your case for support comes in).
And NEVER ask for a major gift in a restaurant…
So how much should you ask for?
You may have noticed that I don’t define exactly what a major gift is.
The size is different for every organization. It could be $1,000 or $100,000. Regardless of the size of the gift, you want to solicit meaningful gifts from individual donors this year for your organization.
Have Questions on Raising Major Gifts? Get Answers!
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has asked me to host their upcoming Q&A Chat on this very topic. It will take place on September 17th at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Submit your questions now for the entire AFP community — I’d love to incorporate them into the chat. Other fundraisers likely have the same questions, so please don’t be shy.
Of course, you can always ask me questions in the comments section below, too. I’m happy to help.