Today, I’m going to attempt to read your mind…
You don’t have enough time to raise major gifts.
You don’t know how to get started raising major gifts.
You don’t have anyone to guide you through the process of raising major gifts week by week, month by month, and year by year – someone who’s always there to answer your questions and help you avoid the common mistakes that cripple so many fundraisers.
Am I right? How’d I know?
Because I know what it’s like to work in a busy, small development shop, where the development staff is responsible for “doing it all.” Today’s video offers more insight, as well as discussing the importance of having a major gift mentor.
Fundraising is Overwhelming
My first development job was at a domestic violence shelter. I *WAS* the development shop. I did it all… grant writing, event planning, direct mail, marketing, database management, raising major gifts and more.
There was never enough time. I never got around to raising major gifts or meeting with potential donors. I was overwhelmed by grant deadlines and upcoming events.
Overwhelmed? I feel your pain. I’ve been there.
You have no time to plan or think. Less time to raise major gifts.
You’re running from one deadline to the next and constantly putting out fires. Then add the reality that no one in your organization knows anything about fundraising.
Fortunately for me, my boss encouraged me to join AFP, where I learned the fundamentals of fundraising. But I still wished I had a mentor to show me the way, day by day.
Having a Mentor Really Helps
I didn’t find a mentor until I joined a big team of fundraisers at Rutgers University. Having a mentor made all the difference in the world.
That’s why I’ve spent the past two years developing a way to teach people like you how to raise major gifts in way that enables me to act as your mentor. Mastering Major Gifts is the result. It’s designed to help development professionals like you get off that tiresome treadmill.
Allow me to be your Major Gifts Mentor.
Mastering Major Gifts is a 7-week online course that provides you with the step-by-step instructions, worksheets, tasks and tools to create and grow your own major gift program from the ground up. Best of all, it comes with access to your own major gift mentor — me! — along with a community of peers who are ready to help.
Mastering Major Gifts condenses a career’s worth of experience, studying, reading, and research into a 7 week, comprehensive course.
Instead of taking your career to learn all this, you can gain access to all of that knowledge in one place, in simple bite-sized chunks, with me to hold your hand every step of the way.
2 Tips to Raise Major Gifts
Here’s an example from Mastering Major Gifts of something extremely simple, yet without a mentor it takes years to learn.
Tip #1: How do you respond to donors?
After you ask for a major gift, there are only three responses a donor could give:
Instead of “winging” it at the end of the meeting, you ought to be prepared for all three responses.
What will you say if your donor says “yes”?
More importantly, what will you do if they say “maybe” or even “no”?
Being prepared for these answers will help you go a long way in raising major gifts. As my mentor at Rutgers used to say, the best fundraisers truly understand that “no” doesn’t means “not ever,” it simply means “not today.”
That bears repeating: “No” doesn’t means “not ever,” it simply means “not today.”
In Mastering Major Gifts, you’ll learn exactly what it takes to turn a “no” into a major gift.
Tip #2: How much should you ask for?
I know you struggle with how much to ask for… but mind reading is not the answer. Having a mentor is. There’s actually a specific mathematical formula you should follow. It’s for raising major gifts for your annual fund, not a capital campaign. It’s not hard, but it will help to have a mentor.
Start by taking the average of the last three years of the donor’s annual giving total. Then multiply that number times five to get a possible amount to ask for. Ok, that was the simple part.
Now it’s time to fine-tune that number by taking into account important factors that you know about your donors, including:
- what they do for a living
- where they live
- the current status of any businesses
- whether or not they’re going through a change in their lives, like retirement, a health crisis, or a divorce
- and how committed they are to your organization
Confused? It’s ok. In Mastering Major Gifts, you’ll receive a worksheet that walks you through all of these factors to give you a tried-and-true amount to solicit. And when you feel comfortable asking for the right amount, you’re far more likely to get it.
A Mentor Makes All the Difference in the World
There’s nothing like having a mentor to teach you any complicated subject. If a program like Mastering Major Gifts existed 15 years ago for me, it would’ve been a godsend. I’m so excited that you, and other development professionals like you, have access to it today.
Click here to learn more about Mastering Major Gifts and discover what this course can do to help you consistently raise 4, 5 and even 6-figure major gifts.