Are you and your team ready for a prosperous and productive year? And, most importantly, are you all planning for wonderfully generous major gifts to flow into your organization?
We think 2023 will be an interesting year for major gifts fundraising. With the uncertain economy, we’ve even heard that some fundraising pros are not sure about meeting their fundraising goals this year.
That means you really need to organize and focus carefully in order to be successful. You need to be systematic to make the most of your valuable time and energy – while raising the money your institution needs.
There may be roadblocks keeping you and your team from reaching your true major gift potential. These success principles will guide you through any economy, to profitable success – for you, your organization, and your mission.
Here are the top three major gifts it \\success principles that we teach. You need these elements working together in order to be successful in raising major gifts in good times and also in volatile times:
There’s no way around it. There are specific steps you can take to move quickly, find the right high-net-worth donors who really care, have direct conversations with them, and then close gifts.
1. Closing major gifts takes know-how and training.
It can be done, and it’s done every day.
However, many fundraisers tell us that they are unsure exactly how to approach donors. Even more, they feel awkward having conversations with prospects. Many say they feel lost when they try to identify the right prospects to focus on. Worst of all, they feel alone and overwhelmed.
Your team can learn all the analytical and soft skills they need to be successful major gift fundraisers. They don’t have to guess their way along.
We can teach them advanced conversation and discovery skills to help them feel comfortable with donors. Every fundraising professional needs to learn how to hold a conversation that lights the fire in a donor prospect and moves them to a gift.
Your team can learn how to listen for a donor’s personal values, passions and interests. And how to take the next steps to move a donor closer to a gift. And we gently push them out the door to go visit their prospects. :)
Your team also needs to understand data analysis. How do you keep up with and sort through all the information they learn about their donors? Most of all, they need to know how to put it to use to predict major gift outcomes.
We believe strongly that working smarter, not harder, helps busy fundraisers raise more money. Knowing how to put your data to work for your leads to success.
2. Successful major gift fundraising takes a team.
The smartest professionals don’t try to go it alone. Silos in major gifts fundraising never work well. It’s essential to have other people involved in helping in the major gift effort.
The team members don’t need to be out there soliciting, but they DO have to help identify prospects and help think through strategies to reach and nurture donor relationships. We find that you can be much more creative in coming up with ideas to cultivate donors when you are brainstorming with a team.
In smaller organizations with limited development resources, the ED or CEO often steps in to help lead the fundraising effort, often aided by a staff member and/or a board volunteer.
You would not believe the successes we have seen with this type of smaller team. Two of our million-dollar gifts came in in the Major Gifts Intensive when the ED called on one of their top donors. The Executive Director knew the questions to ask – and, because of our coaching, they knew how to create the setting for the donor to offer a 7-figure gift. No kidding.
If you are in a small organization, know that you will never be super successful in major gifts fundraising with only one dedicated person. You should never be alone in this effort.
In the Major Gifts Intensive, we ask for a full team of at least four people to register together. It’s best when a group of people from one organization takes the program together. That way, everyone learns the same systems, skills, vocabulary, and approaches – and can reinforce each other.
3. Successful major gift fundraising takes a solid system.
Raising money from major donors is not rocket science, but it takes a very carefully organized structure. As we’ve said many times, you will never be successful without a structure – you’ll be just shooting from the hip.
Systems are everything when it comes to identifying and managing prospects. You need a great rating system to measure your prospects’ potential. In addition, you can use Wealth Screening or even AI to determine who your most likely prospects are.
We’ve written about prospect management systems that are the basis for managing your pipeline, workflow, priorities, and who you plan to see when.
And remember, it’s your prospect management system that lets you and your team know what the potential cash flow looks like – and everyone is interested in that!
The Major Gifts Intensive will help you implement all these success principles.
We can help you with skills training, help you set up the systems that will work for you and your organization, and introduce major gifts success principles to your entire board and management team.
Our goal is to help you lay down the infrastructure, systems, and thinking inside your organization that will take hold permanently. We want your organization to enjoy major gift success not just this year but for many years to come.
Every organization can raise much more IF you seriously tackle major gift fundraising. We are here to help and support you. Check out the Major Gifts Intensive here, and send us a Letter of Interest if you’d like.
Registration closes on Feb.15th. Make sure you register soon, as space is limited and we are filling up fast.
We’ll hop on the phone with you and decide if this program is right for you and your team. It may not be for you. But then, it may be just the thing that will help you and your team catapult your organization to financial security!
Let’s make 2023 awesome and close many major gifts for you and your cause!