Major Gift Fundraising – Tools & Tips

It’s well-known in the non-profit industry that 88% of an organization’s donations are from 12% of its donors. Major donors contribute substantially to overall fundraising goals and the success of an organization. If your organization doesn’t have a major gift program or needs a refresh, Major Gift Fundraising – Tools & Tips provides essential information to create and sustain a successful major donor program.

What is a Major Donor?

According to Bloomerang’s Major Gift metrics, 43.74% of nonprofits define a major gift as greater than $1,000, while 35.90% of nonprofits define a major gift as greater than $10,000. A major donor at one organization can be a mid-level giver at another. There is no industry standard.

Identifying Major Donors

Analyzing your donor pool and gift history over the last two years will determine what donation amount falls into the major gift category. Major donors are most often the donors who are generating 75% of total contributions and have given multiple gifts over the two years.

Communicating with Major Donors

Are your donors aware that they are significant to your organization? if not, there is a huge opportunity to make them feel special with targeted communications.

Using Direct Mail for Sustaining Major Donors

An effective way to sustain major donors is by sending them a major gift direct mail package.

Many of our clients receive large donations in the mail, oftentimes greater than $1,000 as a result of donors responding to highly responsive major gift direct mail packages. Your high-dollar donors will appreciate and respond to this treatment too.

A targeted direct mail appeal to major donors is an opportunity to create an exclusive package to let them know they are special and entice them to make additional and oftentimes higher dollar contributions.

What Makes a Major Donor Direct Mail Package Special?

  • Printing the package on quality paper gives it an exclusive feel. Using a script font and a first-class stamp on the outer envelope gives the impression there’s something important inside.
  • Personalize the package with a variable gift array. That would include the amount of the donor’s last gift, an amount that is higher than their last gift, as well as a blank for them to fill in a gift amount of their choice.
  • Invite the donor to join an exclusive major giving society or club and explain what it is in the letter copy.

The key to writing copy that appeals to high-dollar donors is to convey a sense of inclusivity and exclusivity. This is accomplished by offering them the opportunity to join a major donor-giving society that includes special member benefits and informing them that they are a part of a special group of other high-dollar donors.

Create an Exclusive Giving Society

Create a branded major giving leadership club or society and let donors know that are eligible to join forces with other like-minded people dedicated to your cause. This gives them a sense of inclusivity. Allowing them to choose the level of membership benefits they wish to receive – which are tied to the amount they wish to donate – providing them with a sense of exclusivity. This technique not only encourages donors to continue their support but motivates them to increase their level of giving.

Offer Various Sponsorship Levels

Sponsorship levels vary from organization to organization but can include:

The higher the tier, the more benefits the donor receives. A listing in the annual report, their name on a brick, in a garden, or on a bench, are also valued benefits of membership.

The tiered giving levels provide varied opportunities for your organization to target specific major gift-related communications based on their sponsorship level.

Send the Right Fundraising Message

In your letter to major donors tell a story about those you have helped through a narrative that brings the information to life. The copy should also convey a problem that needs to be solved and how the donor is a part of the solution. Storytelling for Effective Fundraising – Tools & Tips provides guidance for fundraising copywriting that gets results.

Utilize Premiums for Major Donors

A token of thanks is another way to show your appreciation to major donors. High-end premiums such as branded t-shirts, blankets, or golf umbrellas can be effective motivators for major donors to give or to upgrade their giving.

We created a leadership society membership for an organization and included their special branded logo as well as the giving society name on the premiums. It proved to be a way for major donors to visibly show their support and proudly identity with the cause. It’s also an effective way to create public awareness.

Major gifts contribute substantially to overall fundraising goals and the success of any organization. It’s why it’s worth the time and resources for every nonprofit to put a major gift strategy in place today.

If you have a major gift program in place, these tips will help take your program to the next level. If you don’t, contact Write Choice Marketing today for a free consultation on creating a major program for your organization.