The #1 Secret of Raising Lots of Money? Face Time With Major Gift Donors


Don’t we love our major gift donors?  And we all know smart fundraisers should be spending their time with these lovely folks.

But it can be really tough to get out of your office. And that’s a problem when you’re trying to raise serious money.

After all, to get to know your donors, you’ve got to spend time with them. It’s that simple (and that complicated). 

“You Can’t Raise Money In Your Office!”

That is what Ayda Sanver, a very smart consultant colleague of mine said to me once. 

I hear ALL the time from my colleagues that they’re just not getting out and meeting with their donors … even though they know it’s so important.

Your face-to-face calls are probably THE missing ingredient when it comes to implementing a successful fundraising plan.

Let’s face it: How else can you forge a deep relationship?

How else can you learn more about the donor’s interests?

How else can you listen, listen your way to the major gift? :)

If you consider the true Lifetime Value of a major donor to your organization, it might be easier to justify getting out there and visiting with them.

WHY is it so hard to get out of the office?

Immediate priorities keep pulling at you. And they take you pretty much nowhere.

Yes, you’ve got your letters to go out, newsletter to craft, meetings to attend, reports to write. There’s the gala committee, the board meeting, the grant report, the stewardship report. And it all has to be done.

Alas. None of that will help you raise the big gifts you need.

Here’s a step-by-step plan for getting out of the office and making those major gift calls:

1. Set a firm goal for the # of major gift visits you’ll make each month.

Draw a line in the sand. Make a commitment to yourself and your organization.

Commit to making a certain number of visits each month. Is it 12, 8, or 20 visits? (If you’re not a CEO, I recommend making a minimum of 12.)

You’ll never get ANYWHERE without setting this important goal.

2. Enlist internal support to help you get out of the office.

Tell all your co-workers about your goal, and ask them to push you out of the office. You’ve got to have that internal support.

Sometimes non-fundraising staff will raise their eyebrows when we head out for a lunch meeting. (I sometimes used to sense subtle disapproval from some co-workers when I was a staffer.)

That stuff has GOT to stop! Enlist your boss or the ED. It’s up to your bosses to make sure that everyone in the organization supports fundraising.

So be sure everyone knows what your job is and why it’s important for you to get out there.

3. Make your goal for these major gift visits a big deal.

Talk about your goal and the calls you are making.  Get your CEO behind you. Get your board behind you.

Tell everyone that your goal is to make a certain number of visits with major gift prospects each month. Ask for their help.

4. Just do it.

Draw a line in the sand and make a personal commitment.

I send out my Friday newsletter come hell or high water. (Or hurricanes!) I just do it.

No matter what’s going on in my life or business, this newsletter comes out.

And it has made all the difference in the world – to my thinking – to my marketing – to my professional development.

What could YOU accomplish if you had a lot of major prospects under cultivation?

How much more money could you raise? I bet you could bring in a LOT OF FUNDING! :)

Bottom line:

Here’s your motto: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

Make the commitment.

The dollars will follow!

Question to you:

How often are you out of the office?  How many calls do you try to make each month?

Leave me a comment and let me know!