Trend #2: Gifts Over $1k Are Going Up – And What To Do About It

I think it’s time for a major gift checkup!

Why? Some giving trends are showing that major donors are still brimming with generosity.  

What does the crystal ball say about fundraising today and tomorrow?

Here’s the big news: A recent report found that – even amid declining donor populations – charitable gifts are increasing from donors giving $1,000 or more.

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project, led by AFP, the Urban Institute, and Adventist/PSI, analyzes millions of transactions across the US from several gift processing CRMs.

The FEP Report for 2018 showed that overall giving was up, but largely due to donors giving $1,000 and over.  

In discussing the FEP report, the Wall Street Journal noted that “charitable giving in 2018 was increasingly concentrated among larger donors.”

So here we are in this environment where fewer and fewer donors giving are giving more revenue.

The smaller number of donors at the top of the giving pyramid are accounting for more and more fundraising revenue.

In some organizations, 80% of the money is coming from 10% of the donors. How about your organization?

Sooooo what to do about it?

It’s time for a major gift checkup – focus and re-focus on major gift fundraising.

If you want to ride the wave of major gifts that is happening across the country right now, then let’s get organized!

Not to worry – if your major gift effort is muddled, you are not alone. Many organizations are not well-organized in this area.

Here’s how to do your own major gift checkup:

  • What’s the state of your major prospect list? Has it been sitting in a computer file for months untouched? Or is your major gift prospect list active and updated often?
  • Do you have prospective donors who are truly qualified? Or are these donors really just SUSPECTS?  If so, they need a field visit or a Discovery Phone Call from someone to find out if they are really qualified.
  • Do you have a rating system that works for everyone – for example, affinity, interest, or linkage – and capacity? A rating system that is easy to work with? One that helps you set priorities on where to focus on next?
  • Are you able to track the value of your and all the gift officers’ portfolios? Do you know how much potential funding is really on the table for each staffer?
  • How about your metrics for major gift fundraising? Are you tracking moves? Or visits? touches? Qualified prospects? And, of course, gifts raised? How about stewardship visits? Most importantly are your metrics relevant? Are they encouraging the kind of results you’re looking for?
  • Does your team block off office time every month to make Discovery Phone Calls to qualify potential donors?
  • Do you develop written cultivation plans for all top prospects, so you can think through the process of moving the donors along?
  • Are you having a monthly strategy review meeting with a small group to think thru your next moves and plans with each assigned donor?
  • Do you have strong funding priorities that you can offer to donors to fund? For example, are you looking to expand a certain program, or add a certain service? Package them up so major donors can underwrite them.
  • For bosses: Are you taking good care of your Major Gift fundraisers? Do you treat them like a great team of salespeople who are winners? Do you reward them and motivate them?

Major gift fundraising is worth the time investment!

Bottom Line: Your Major Gift Checkup.

We know that major gifts are the most efficient and effective way to raise the money your organization needs to change the world.

Here’s where to focus for max returns. These donors love you and your cause.

What are you waiting for?