MAJOR GIFTS FUNDRAISING A Strategic Approach April 17, 2012 Presented by Mary Saionz, CFRE
A Strategic PerspectiveQ. What is a Major Gift?A. A gift that has a lasting and significant impact on improving the well-being and quality of life of our community and helping to build a better world. Depending on your institution, it could be an investment in the future of anything from $5,000 to $500 million—or more.
A Strategic PerspectiveQ. How is major gifts fundraising different from fundraising through a challenge, direct mail or events?A. It is fundraising that is planned and executed one donor at a time (not fundraising through group appeals).
A Strategic PerspectiveQ. Why is major gift fundraising important to your institution?A. 80% or more of all the dollars that Americans give to charity are contributed by 20% or less of the population in gifts of $5,000+. To achieve your organization’s fundraising potential, you must identify your 20% and seek their support. Here’s how:
A Strategic Perspective“Fundraising is really the process of asking people to share a dream or a vision. We ask our donors to consider the possibilities of a better world— to help us leave the world a bit better than when we came into it. We ask others to dream with us, to share our ideals and to help make what was once only a thought become reality.”
A Strategic Perspective“In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet needs, not because you have needs.”“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.”
A Strategic Perspective“Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good; but if you pile it in one place, it stinks like hell.”
How can Giving Partner, AF and events lead to MG’s--Prospecting• Review gifts daily. Look for patterns—longtime giving or a sudden jump in gift size.• Consistently call your smaller donors to thank them personally and LISTEN to their insights. (Would 10 calls a week be realistic for you?)• Wealth-screen consistent and involved annual givers to ascertain who, properly stewarded, might be capable of doing more.
Prospecting• Pull a list of donors who’ve been supporting you for 5+ consecutive years. These are good Planned Giving Prospects.• If you are fundraising for a particular subset of your organization, pull a list of donors who have supported that area in the past.
Prospecting• Build on your Board’s connections• Ask them to review lists of capable donors/prospects you haven’t been able to get close to• Pull lists of people in your database that live in your Board members’ apartment buildings and ask them to review.• Ask Board members about people they know who may be interested in being introduced to your organization. How would they feel comfortable getting this to happen?
Prospecting• Capture names at events, wealth screen and look for wealth indicators• If appropriate, wealth screen lists of the people you serve and see who comes to the top• In my view, buying lists is a last resort—costly and inefficient.
Major Gifts Cultivation• The experts say it can take 18-24 moves to cultivate and solicit a major gift.• What the major gifts officer does over the course of these 12-18 moves is to build a donor- centered relationship between the donor and your institution so that you come to understand the donor as an individual and you can respond to his/her motivations and needs. Specifically:
Major Gifts Cultivation• Things you should know about the donor before soliciting a gift include:• Passions and priorities. What were her formative experiences and what does she care deeply about, especially as relates to your institution’s mission.• Capacity Does this person have the means to make a transformative gift?• Affinity What is this person’s assessment of and commitment to your institution?
Major Gifts Cultivation-More things to know• Does he have a philanthropic mindset? Were his parents philanthropic? Has he made significant gifts elsewhere?• What are her objections and concerns?• What should you ask him to support?• How much should you request?• Who should be involved in the cultivation and solicitation?
Major Gifts Cultivation• Moves Management: A system for moving your 150-250 person portfolio of donors forward through this information-gathering and relationship-building process:• Review your prospect list once a month in light of the questions above. What do you know and what do you need to know?
Major Gifts Cultivation• Reach out to each individual in a personalized way. Whatever move you make it must be appropriate to the donor and your current relationship and be about some point of overlap between the donor and your institution. Meetings, tours, notes, calls, articles etc.
Major Gifts Cultivation• Establish a development goal for each encounter. Goals can include:• --Building a feeling of good-will and trust (this is a goal every time).• --Incrementally increasing the donor’s exposure to your institution•
Major Gifts Cultivation-More goals• --Listening People sometimes think that effective fundraisers talk, when it’s much more important that we know how to listen. We find out what we need to know about our donors by gradually and gently posing open-ended questions and listening to the answers. (See listening test.)
Major Gifts Cultivation• --Before completing each encounter, try to articulate an appropriate next step and ask the donor’s permission to do it.• --Tickle the next step on your calendar and follow through by doing what you said you would do• --Record what you learned about your donor in your database and review it before you meet again
Asking for the GiftBefore you can solicit a major gift, you must know the following specifics:• What project will you seek support for?• How much money will you ask for?• What VIP’(s) should be in the meeting?• Do family members/advisors need to be involved?• Where should the meeting take place?
Asking for the Gift• Get the meeting on everyone’s calendars and arrange for a room and light refreshment• Prepare an agenda and assign everyone the points they will cover. A generic example could be:
Asking for the Gift-Agenda• Pleasantries• Thank donor specifically for past giving• Brief, pithy description of the project you a re currently seeking support for and its significance. (None of this should be news to the donor.)• Ask for a specific amount to support it. Mention that the gift could be paid over as many as five years with cash, securities etc, with possibly a deferred component. Mention how meaningful and important their involvement would be. (None of this should be news to the donor.)
Asking for the Gift-More Agenda• Stop talking and LISTEN to the donor• Address objections• Define a next step• Pleasantries
Asking for the Gift• Meet with VIP solicitor(s)• Review the agenda• Ask the solicitor which points he/she would like to cover• Reiterate that LISTENING to the donor is essential• Anticipate the donors objections and talk through possible responses• Give the VIP a pep talk
Asking for the Gift• Meeting with the Donor• Confirm everyone the day before and briefly review the VIP’s role and listen to concerns. Give another pep talk.• Be early, relaxed and ready• Follow your agenda
Asking for the GiftAfter the meeting:• Send a thank you note to the donor and the VIP solicitor• Note what happened in the meeting in your database• Do whatever was promised as a next step• Stay in touch with the donor regularly until the matter is resolved one way or another.
Stewardship• Thank• In letters, calls and in person. (Some say to thank donors 7 times before re-soliciting.) Tell what their gift accomplished.• Acknowledge gifts with appropriate tax language within 48 hours• Update acknowledgement letters annually and specifically enumerate what has been accomplished with their help• Create slight variations of your acknowledgement letter for different sub-groups of donors• Establish gift clubs or levels to recognize donors for cumulative giving
Stewardship• Recognize. Some ways include: – Naming opportunities – Plaques and donor walls – Publications, including annual report – Web site – Ribbon cutting ceremony
Stewardship• Involve• Let donors know what their gifts are accomplishing• Stay in contact with donors when you’re not asking money in ways that can include calls, notes, newsletters, e-formation etc.• When you get a corporate or foundation gift, tickle the report due date right away and submit it when it is due.• Identify volunteer opportunities that are good fits• Ask donors for input and advice
Goal Setting• See handouts for tools for evaluating your effectiveness
Observations and Q&A• Please share one thought sparked by our discussion today about Major Gifts Fundraising.• Questions?
Contact InformationMary Saionz, CFREDirector of Major GiftsSarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc.1515 South Osprey Avenue, Suite B-4Sarasota, FL 34239(941)917-1286(941)917-2270 FaxMary-Saionz@smh.com