• What makes your donors MAJOR?
– Treat them differently from other donors
– Different for every group
– Most groups have a dollar limit: $100 and above,
$5,000 and above
– Mostly an internal definition
– Key ?: How many donors can you treat in this way?
Major donors need to have the three Cs: care,
connection, and capacity
Creating Your List
Where do you find prospective donors?
Staff and Board contacts
• Best way to find new major
donors is by upgrading existing
– All about building relationships
• Mine your giving data! Look
for people who:
– Have a history of consistent giving
– Have given big gifts in the past few years
– May be giving under their capacity
• Ask current donors for names and introductions
to other donors
Staff and Board
• Create a culture of
fundraising in your
• Make sure staff are
comfortable talking about
the basics of your organization and funding
• Ask staff and Board to be on the lookout for
new people to bring into the organization
• Ask for names and contact information for
• What organizations in your area do similar or
compatible work? What are other
organizations that you, your staff, or your
Board give to?
• Look at their donor lists – website, newsletter,
annual report, donor wall!
• Know that these donors have capacity and
likely care – need connection
• Search by city, state, or zip
• Examine 990’s, particularly:
– Page 6: list of officers and possibly their contact
– Page 10: if and how they accept proposals
– Page 11: list of grantees
• Important to track data consistently
• Important to include:
– First and last name
– Source of name
– Links to relevant
• You’ve mostly identified people with capacity
and/or care, but you need connection.
• Have Board and staff respond to your list.
– Do they know? Can they introduce?
– Give option for “call me later to discuss”
• Compare potential prospects to your email list
or donor list.
Research Top Prospects
• GOAL: if you have a connection (or potential),
find out enough information to make an ask
– Giving history
– Contact information
– Work or personal history
• Simple sources of info
– People who know them
– White Pages
• Prioritize and plan. Try focusing on a different
set of donors each quarter:
– Q1 - renew previous donors
– Q2 - reach out to new donors $5,000 and up
– Q3 – reach out to new donors below $5,000
– Q4 – clean-up
• Delegate – use the Coordinator/Director part
of your title!
• Follow up – give a timeline and check in
• A Model Prospecting Program
– Creating your “big list”
– Defining your prospects
– Researching your prospects
– Making it happen!