Key Skills Every Smart Major Gift Fundraiser Needs to Master

I’m guessing you know that major gift fundraising is changing. How’re you and your team doing when it comes to keeping up?

Are you feeling that it’s never been more necessary to stay up to date?

Are you and your team on top of the strategies that optimize major gift fundraising – that have real, proven value and yield measurable results? Do you have the skills that develop warm donor relationships and result in mega gifts?

Today’s post outlines all these skills and more. This is what you need if you want to be a successful major gift fundraiser.

And, surprise! this is the actual curriculum for our Major Gift Intensive coaching and training program. 

Here is the content for our 8 Instructional Webinars in the Major Gift Intensive program:

1. Build Your Team, Culture and Mindset

  • Mastering the major gift million dollar mindset (relationships vs transactional approach).
  • Developing an organizational culture to support major gifts. 
  • Overcoming organizational obstacles.
  • Setting priorities for major gift fundraising, making your time commitment. 
  • Organizing and mobilizing your Major Gifts Team.
  • The 3 major elements of every major gift program.
  • What are you raising money for? Shaping donor offers. 

2. Prospect Management: Prospect Research & Portfolio Analysis

  • Pulling the right reports and how to interpret your data (gift history, screenings, etc). 
  • Looking for new gift opportunities from high-value prospects within your donor data.
  • Getting the most from prospect research.
  • Estimating the value and timing of your prospect portfolio. 
  • Quantifying your prospect portfolio with rating systems. 
  • Managing your assigned portfolio and your organization’s overall pipeline of major gift prospects.
  • Creating structure, metrics and accountability to measure your progress..
  • How to focus on the right prospects to conserve time and increase productivity. 
  • Setting up your working list: easy access to manage your prospect list.
  • Defining the fields you need to track on your working list. 

3. Field Research: The Discovery Process and Qualification Boot Camp

  • How to qualify a donor over the phone.
  • Making the appointment for a discovery visit.
  • Advanced discovery and qualification skills all fundraisers need to know. 
  • The Discovery process: the five principles for discovering and qualifying major donors today.
  • How do we determine a donor’s potential gift capacity by talking to them? 
  • What are we listening for the donor to say? 
  • Building Donor Profiles: using the right information to help you cultivate your donor deeply and happily.

4. Creating Cultivation Strategies; Structure, Metrics and Moves Management

  • Advanced prospect management skills to optimize relationships with the right people. 
  • How do you measure a relationship? 
  • Tracking the correct data points on a donor.
  • Organizing a moves management plan to track and manage your cultivation activities.
  • How to set up volunteer screening sessions to review prospects with key volunteers.  
  • Setting a realistic major gift goal for this year.
  • The three basic types of information to feed into your moves management. 
  • Deciding which relationship strategies will work the best for a particular donor. 
  • Setting up a system to create effective, actionable Cultivation Plans for your top donors.

5. Getting Appointments and Making Discovery Calls

  • Creative ways to get appointments and getting in the door.
  • Many strategies for reaching out to a donor. 
  • How to have discovery visits that are fun for both you and your donor. 
  • Power Discovery Questions that reveal your donor’s passions, interests and hot buttons.
  • Power conversations that move your donor forward.
  • How to tell if your prospect is ready to give early in the game.
  • How to get max results from your visits by setting objectives. 

6. Cultivation and Relational Skills to Build a Partnership (Mastering the Soft Skills)

  • What does the cultivation process look like?
  • How to have successful cultivation visits with donors.  
  • Power listening skills to make your donor comfortable. 
  • Building credibility and trust in the donor relationship.
  • The likeability factor: etiquette pointers to enhance major donor relationships.
  • Learning how to make a successful advice visit.
  • Seamless conversation skills to light a fire with your donor and inspire them to offer more support than ever. 
  • Donor-centered conversations and questions that directly lead to an ask. 

7. Preparing Your Donor For a Transformational Ask

  • How to ask for permission to ask. 
  • Key insights about asking: why people give. 
  • How to warm up your donor for an ask so they are ready and prepared. 
  • What are we asking money for – getting precise about your project priorities and donor offers.
  • Preparing carefully: the seven questions to answer before you make the ask.
  • How to test for the right dollar amount.

8. Conversation-Based Asking and Closing Techniques

  • Preparing for the ask visit – get your mindset in the right place.
  • Coaching on asking – overcome anxiety and fear.
  • Who should go on the ask visit?
  • Presenting your case: shaping your project into an exciting opportunity.
  • Solicitation is a conversation! Creating an ask within an easy, back-and-forth conversation.
  • Ways to frame the ask, so the donor is receptive and open. 
  • Dealing with your donor’s objections. 
  • How and when to follow up the ask: how followup can make or break the donor’s gift. 

Whether you are just starting a major gift program or want to enhance your current program, you and your team need to start here. You need this systematized, professionalized and data-driven approach.

Join the Major Gifts Intensive cohort for this year, and get all this training plus private coaching calls. We’d love to work with you!