The Donation Maximization Blog

Identifying and Converting Major Donors: 4 Tips for Success



Whether you’re trying to raise hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars for a cause, one of the most difficult challenges fundraisers often face is finding major donors for their campaigns. Knowing where to look and how to approach the right people can demand experience, dedication and a lot of hard work.

Here are a few tips to help simplify the process:

  • Define the term “Major”

Before you begin searching, it’s important to know how your organization defines a major donor. Defining the dollar amount that would qualify a donor as major should be your first step.

Once you’ve defined what counts as a “major” donation for your campaign, you can then begin to build a strategy for getting high value donations. However, it doesn’t make sense to begin doing in-depth research or to reach out to organizations before you’ve clearly defined your goals.

  1. Research, Research, Research

According to a study conducted by Bank of America in 2014, 98.4 percent of high net worth households give to charity. However, these major donor prospects are not going to show up at your door. You’ve got to go out and find them.

Start by searching for large businesses and wealthy individuals who may have a strong interest in your cause. Once you have an initial list of prospects, you’ll need to find out who the decision makers are within each organization. Get the right person on the phone, or schedule an in-person meeting to go over all the details.

Take it one step further and get to know your prospects personally. What are their interests and passions? By taking the time to understand your potential donors, you’re more likely to receive a positive reaction to your request, regardless of the amount.

  1. Educate and Influence your Prospects

Your next step is to educate your prospects on why your cause should be important to them. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions centered on why your cause is relevant, and how they can make a difference with a major donation.

For prospects that have donated in the past, it’s important to encourage them to donate more. Be specific, and take a moment to explain the impact their higher donation will have on your campaign. Sometimes people simply need to be reminded that their contributions really do matter.

  1. Be Persistent, Not Pushy

Many prospects will take the time to listen to why your cause is important, the goal you’re trying reach, and the impact their donation will have on your overall campaign. Maybe they’re just being polite, but it’s also possible that they want to give, but can’t justify it at the moment.

Maybe they need buy-in from another household member, or maybe it’s not in the budget currently. If it’s merely a question of timing, then persistence could be the key to successfully acquiring the major donors you need for your campaign.

Whatever your cause may be, the most important thing to remember is that you must connect with your donors on an emotional level. You’ve got to have a story to tell that people can relate to, and that inspires giving. If you focus on that, you’ll be well on your way to a successful fundraising campaign.

Want to know more about how personalized fundraising using specified ask amounts can help you find and convert major donors? Contact us today to get started.

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