AFP Permian Basin | Asking for Major Gifts: Expecting the Unexpected
Association of Fundraising
Permian Basin Chapter
Carolyn M. Appleton | April 25, 2018
Asking for Major Gifts:
Are you ready for a major gift campaign?
Have you asked yourself:
● Is the work you do truly essential and meaningful?
● Is your nonprofit known and respected?
● Is your nonprofit focused and healthy?
● Are your Board members and staff ready?
● Have you conducted research to identify your best prospects?
● Have you put those prospects on the pathway to greater knowledge about your
nonprofit and its needs?
● Have you interviewed your constituents, community influencers and donors,
responded to questions, and informed them of your plans?
● Can you spend money to make money?
Will your major gift
campaign make a
Is it exciting?
Yes! You are ready to start
Despite our best efforts
encounter prior donors
who are upset or angry.
Shy Volunteers Executive Directors
You arranged your in-person
solicitation with the help of a
trusted volunteer. But when
you get to the meeting ...
We love them but
must carry on despite
“characterized by a ready capability to
adapt to new, different,
or changing requirements.”
How to prepare for in-person solicitations, and to follow-up:
● Think of every possible question a prospect might ask, in advance
● Test any equipment you will be using, and pack your equipment and
documentation well in advance (not at the last minute)
● Confirm who is attending, and provide driving directions and exact location
● Arrive early (find the plugs)
● Look your prospects in the eye (as is appropriate)
● Be yourself
● At the conclusion of your meeting, verbally recap next steps and thank
● Follow-up with answers to questions, promptly (in writing)
What if your prospects won’t agree to meet
in person (or via video conference)?
● Keep your online presence up to date
● Use the regular mail to communicate
in a meaningful fashion
● If you know they have professional
advisors, bring them into the loop
● Always be sure your programs are
strong and keep doing what you do
best very well
● Make sure all staff - top to bottom -
are aware of the campaign (serendipity
Carolyn M. Appleton
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