What Mega Donors are Saying about Giving in Today’s Economy

Hands holding giving sign

As capital campaign consultants, we’re often chatting with potential major donors about their philanthropic interests. 

Why are these major donors so important?

One of our key questions in our feasibility studies is asking donors who they are feeling about giving in today’s economy.

It’s important to remember that these are individuals who have significant assets, particularly in real estate and investments. They are six, seven, and eight-figure donors, who typically are not feeling the impact of inflation, and are not particularly worried about their future income. 

More importantly, these are the donors who tend to make or break capital campaigns. They’re often the top lead donors to capital campaigns – and they are the people we want to be involved in our campaign projects.

Are these mega donors still committed to their favorite causes?

What we’re finding out is that, regardless of the murky economic outlook, these donors remain deeply committed to their favorite causes. Nothing seems to have changed in terms of their commitment. 

This means that, as long as they are engaged, passionate, and committed to your organization’s work, you have a strong opening for a major or even a mega gift.  

Your team’s personal mission for the upcoming year.

So, the real question for you is – how can you be sure that your organization’s mission is still one of their favorite causes? 

How can you keep pulling these key individuals in, engaging them in your work, and helping them see the beautiful impact their gifts are making in the world?

 That needs to be the personal mission of your team today – to make your project a priority for these donors personally.

Top Takeaways From Real-Time Conversations with Mega Donors

Here are what donors are telling us in our feasibility study interviews right now. These are recent, real-time, gentle gift conversations with donors about making major gifts. 

  “We give through our Donor Advised Fund (DAF) and this project is a priority to us.”

Many donors already have money for philanthropy set aside in their personal DAF or private foundation. That means, the DAF funds are available for gifts, no matter what is going on in the economy.

Your takeaway: When a gift comes in from a DAF, your team should be on red alert, because it indicated you have a major donor prospect.

 “I am concerned about economic and political uncertainty. But we plan to support this project.”

Even though the economy is uncertain, most major donors whom we interview tell us that they’re so committed to the organization and the project that they will support it anyway. 

Notwithstanding the uncertainty, they are steadfast in their support. Those are the kinds of donors who stick with you when the going gets tough. 

Your takeaway: Keep these special supporters close!

“We must do this project – the new building is needed.”

Again, these donors know how much their community needs the new building. The donors understand the need, and why it “must happen.” They are super committed regardless. 

“Any economic downturn makes the work of our organization more vital.  

These donors feel that the current economic uncertainty is a trigger for even more giving. This means that, in a down economy, they are MORE loyal, not less. 

Your takeaway: These donors just might be your capital campaign champions. They can spread the word among their peer philanthropists that your organization’s mission is more important than ever.

 “I think the proposed goal is attainable, but we need to work smart.”

These donors are still bullish on multi-million dollar campaign goals. We want the donors to feel confident about the campaign’s ability to be successful.

Your takeaway: You want campaign leaders who have confidence in your ability to raise money. This confidence will spread to other top donors, your board and other important campaign volunteers.

Bottom line: Mega donors are still giving. Their philanthropy does not seem to be impacted by the economy.

Don’t hold back!

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies.  If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to coaching@gailperry.com if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.