5 Reasons to Know Why Your Major Donors Give

May 24, 2019Donors

Know-Why-Donors-Give Donors

You want to raise more money through major gifts to advance your mission, right? Then you must know why your major donors give!

Then you want to know what inspires and motivates a person to support your organization. You want to get to know your donors better. You care deeply about your donors and their desires to help others.

Read How to Determine Your Major Donors’ Passions.

A “validation visit” will help you uncover your donors' values, interests, and passions. It will let you know why donors contribute to your organization.

Set up a one-on-one visit from a list of your top donors. Ask them why they contribute to your organization.

These visits can be a game-changer for your fundraising efforts.


Here are 5 reasons you should conduct “validation visits” and know why your major donors give:

1.  Specific and Relevant Messaging

When you know what your donors are passionate about, you know how to talk with them. The messages you create will be clear, compelling, and relevant. Your messages to each donor will be specific and relatable to their values, interests, and passions.

Narrow your focus to ensure you are creating a message for your ideal major donors.

Read 3 Most Important Criteria When Identifying Your Ideal Major Donor.

2.  Messages Become Easier to Create

After several conversations with your ideal major donors, you will capture the words and phrases they use to describe their passions.

Your newsletters, your social media posts, your appeals, your donor asks will become so much easier for you to create. Your prospective and current donors feel as though you are talking directly to them. The more specific you are in crafting your messages, the better. When you combine your strategic priorities with your donors’ interests and passions, that’s when traction happens.

3.  Your “Ask” will Resonate

If you take the time to do the work, you can create an ask that is perfect for each prospective donor. They believe in your mission and want to make a difference.

When your message and your ask to your major donor is too general or too broad, the ask won’t resonate with them. When you develop your message with details and specifics that resonate with your donor’s passion and interest, it’s easy to secure their gift and help them feel good about the differences they are making.

Craft your message with details, stories, and experiences that draw in your ideal major donors. Know the words and emotions that connect with their passion the most. When that happens, it’s easy to gain their attention in the sometimes-noisy world of philanthropy.


4.  You Build a Relationship based on Trust

You want to get to know your donors better and build a relationship based on trust. Your donors become part of the family – your organization’s family. You know their wishes and desires. You get to know their aspirations, preferred way of communicating, or even their favorite flavor of ice cream!


5.  Align Programs to the Ask

You want to identify projects or programs, for example, for a person to support they are passionate about and find meaningful. When you know your donors, you can better align their gifts to their values, interests, and passions.

Can you see how important it is to take the time to discover why your major donors give to your organization? If you don’t invest your time here, you risk creating an ask that is uninteresting, diluted, and lacking true relevance to your donor. You risk your ask falling flat.

With major gifts, you want to keep or advance your donors’ giving, all while helping them meet their wishes and desires.

Set the foundation for fundraising success. Discovery why people invest in your organization. Ask them.

It is up to you to determine a donor’s reason for giving.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].


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