How To Identify Major Donors

If you are involved in fundraising, you are always looking for major donors. Your goal is for your organization to receive big amounts of donations. You wish that your major giver will appear one day to give you a check.

It is difficult to identify major donors but there are always kind-hearted individuals who present themselves as a giver. If they like the project, a big amount is given or materials to finish the project are donated. Sometimes the best source of these gifts is the donor you already know.

A researcher suggests three indicators to look for as you size up your donors.

What is the capacity of a donor? You ask for the capacity because it is the deal breaker qualifier for major gift prospects. When you gauge the donor's capacity you can more or less determine the gift range you might ask. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • How much can he or she give? What investments do they have, and what are their assets? Do they have business debts?
  • What is the inclination of a donor? We want to know if he is involved in civic affairs being a generous person. Try to know if your prospect have tried giving to charities or maybe involved with organizations similar to yours. Ask if his interests and hobbies are in line with your programs.
  • What is the linkage of a donor? Linkage is the connection of your prospective donor to the environment within your mission. He may have already been a donor in your former project. Or he may be a consistent giver. He may have been involved in your organization in its latest activity. The person may have been frequently heard speaking good things about your mission.

The first three prospects that score high on all three of these indicators should get your full attention. Everyone in your organization must have the responsibility of identifying, securing and retaining wealthy individuals as donors. In fact, there should be a training or seminar conducted by your organization on how to develop strategy, identify suitable high net worth individuals, obtain background information on their interests, and develop a successful ‘ask’ and retain donors. The seminar should also include a strategy on how to get the donors build their commitment so that the size and frequency of their gifts increase to your cause.

Major donations are very important to most organizations for their very survival. The key staff of the organization must develop big dreams in order to identify potential donors with the financial capacity to make significant gifts. Building this culture is not easy but must be started.

Some executives appear to easily succeed at securing major gifts because the culture and history of an institution play a key role. Presidents of academic institutions may spend most of their time involved in fundraising. The rest of their organization knows how to identify prospective donors and turn the organization's dreams into innovative new services.




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