Hundreds of thousands of small community organizations and animal groups do a lot with few resources. While every donation is vital for the success of an organization, one great strategy that you can use is to pursue even a few major donors. Major gifts, for some organizations, represent a significant percentage of their revenue and typically the expense of obtaining a major gift can be a lot less than the money spent on acquiring new donors and other fundraising activities, such as events.
If you’re the member of the fundraising team of a one or two-person small community group or animal welfare organization, you may be wondering how you can attract major gift dollars that can go as high as $5,000, $10,000, or more for a single gift. It can especially happen when major gift donors are emotionally touched by the work you’re doing because it means something personal to them.
But if you’re a small group with limited resources, how can you uncover major donor prospects in your community?
We’re going to provide you with a few simple ideas that are tricks of the fundraising trade.
- Institutional funders: One of the primary streams of revenue for small nonprofits are corporations and foundations. But, did you realize that they can also be an excellent source for information when you’re looking to create a major gift program? Perhaps you’re developing a new initiative, and you would like to have the support of major donors. Having a few well-placed discussions with institutional funders who happen to be your greatest champions is an excellent place to begin.
All you have to do is to create a framework that will help the people that you’re speaking to within a corporation or foundation think through how they can help you connect with community and business leaders who may be interested in your organization. Maybe you’d like to start a new program or exponentially develop an existing plan. This type of strategic thinking takes money. If you prepare a concise presentation with a goal, your impact, and objectives, take the information to an institutional funder and brainstorm with them your thoughts about attracting major donors. When you ask their thoughts, they will do what they can to help you.
- Other nonprofits: Another trick of the fundraising trade is to see the supporters to other charities in your community. The fact of the matter is that when someone is passionate about a particular cause, they can support not just one, but two or more organizations.
Alternately, you can also look at donors to other organizations that may be aligned to the work you do. For instance, if your organization does youth development, you can see which community leaders are associated with your local schools. Or, if you’re living in a major city with a zoo, you can research the names of its supporters and then figure out how to develop a relationship with a few of those prospects. Many organizations also publish the names of their supporters or partners on their websites, annual reports, or in community publications when events occur.
- Political donors: We understand that politics is a touchy subject, but were you aware that people who are contributors to political parties and candidates are much more likely to be donors to nonprofit causes? Although currently nonprofits shouldn’t get involved in politics, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do a little research using available information about political donors who, it turns out, are more inclined to support philanthropy.
According to Donor Search, political giving is an excellent predictor of charitable giving. Individuals who donate $2,500 in their lifetime to a political campaign are 14 times more likely to give to charity than others who are not political contributors. And, for those who have provided $500 in their lifetime to politics, they are at least 5 times more likely to contribute to charity.
With a little planning, major donors are an excellent fundraising idea for your community organization or animal group.
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