What Major Gift Donors Want to Know

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A major gift or a transformational gift can make all the difference in the world for an organization. That type of major gift does not come from a stranger . . .


I just finished two significant pieces of work. The first was a feasibility study where I interviewed many major donors and prospects, and determined why they give generously. The second was a moves management workshop where we discussed the “moves” development officers recommend in the donor cultivation process. The pieces of work go hand-in-hand.


Donors tell me how much they appreciate being asked their opinions about projects, including what they hope to accomplish through their own personal philanthropy. They enjoy sharing why they give; what it means to them; what difference they hope to achieve today and in their lifetimes. They particularly like sharing their opinions if they believe their views will possibly impact others.


Donors tell me how they have admired an organization and they’d be happy to share their views with others . . . if asked.


Donors talk about the relationships they have built with the leaders of an organization and how that means so much to them.


How often do the planned “moves” in a moves management program address the donors’ macro philanthropic thinking?


Examine your organization’s moves management plan and what has meaning to your major gift prospects. What actions show a donor that his/her views are important and can impact others?


It also goes without saying that donors are key players in the success of a campaign or project. Make sure to express your gratitude and say “thank you” . . . and continue building that long-term, transformational relationship.


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