What’s Stopping You from Raising Major Gifts?
Part 5 of 5: Lack of Training
In this final installment of What’s Stopping You from Raising Major Gifts? we’re going to address what’s perhaps the greatest obstacle of them all.
The good news is that if you overcome this one obstacle to raising major gifts — a lack of formal training, you’ll have a much easier time breaking down the other four barriers.
Where are the Major Gift Training Opportunities?
Formal fundraising training is a relatively young concept as far as professions go. Until recently, there was no option to “major” in fundraising in college and no master’s degree in fundraising either.
Therefore, unless you’re relatively new to fundraising, it’s unlikely that you have much in the way of formal, professional fundraising training or education.
Personally, I did get a Master’s Degree in nonprofit administration more than fifteen years ago. But if I recall correctly, there were only two classes available for fundraising at that time — and they focused on grant writing and special events.
Even if you’ve been fortunate to attend conferences and other training sessions throughout your career, very few focus exclusively on major gifts and individual giving.
And while there are some books available on raising major gifts, most of them focus on large institutions or capital campaigns, or million dollar gifts. They may not seem applicable to you. Plus, not everyone can learn something as involved as raising major gifts from a book.
If that’s the case, it’s no wonder that you feel unprepared to raise major gifts.
The Better the Training, the More You Raise
In the research project I recently completed with Dr. Adrian Sargeant, we found that only 10-11% of fundraisers are taking advantage of the most intensive types of fundraising training and education, such as CFRE certification or a college level course.
The good news is that the research found very strong correlations between training and successful major gift fundraising.
Training can help you raise $37,000 more in major gifts.
The link was so strong in fact, that we were able to conclude that for each additional training or educational experience (like attending a conference), fundraisers were able to raise an average of $37,000 more in major gifts!
Our research found that the more training you have under your belt, the more likely it is you will be successful at raising major gifts.
Note that the correlation wasn’t as strong for quick training sessions (i.e., webinars and short workshops) as it was for those who went through the CFRE process, but that’s to be expected.
The Point is, Training Works!
If you think about the cost of training — which is really an investment — even the most expensive training is a bargain!
Let’s assume the most expensive type of training is around $3,000, which would include things like a multi-day conference, CFRE certification, or a college-level course. The average return on that investment is $37,000.
So if you truly want to raise major gifts, but you don’t have the know-how, it’s time to learn.
Check out your local nonprofit center or Association of Fundraising Professionals Chapter to learn about their upcoming conferences and workshops.
Of course, successful major gift fundraising also takes time, patience, practice, and confidence — all of which I’ve discussed in the earlier parts of this series. But having the proper education provides the foundation for success.
A Unique Training Opportunity
In the coming weeks, you and other readers of my blog will be among the first development professionals to get access to an intensive online major gifts training program. It’s called Mastering Major Gifts and it’s been approved to provide 35 CFRE Credit Hours — all devoted to major gift fundraising.
Mastering Major Gifts is the first of its kind, a comprehensive 7-week online training course that unlocks your true major gift fundraising potential.
- Developed by an ACFRE (Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive)
- Based on years of experience and academic research
- Provides 35 hours of CFRE credits
This is part 5 of 5 of a 5-part miniseries: What’s Stopping You from Raising Major Gifts? Be sure to read the other posts to overcome every obstacle to raising major gifts — because you can do it!