Do I Really Ask for Major Gifts Right Now?

Jun 26, 2020Leadership

Why-Ask-for-Major-Gifts-Now Leadership

Why focus on major gifts right now?

Here's what a mid-June article describes from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. . . .

“Charities may need to rely on major donors even more now that the country is in a recession and middle- and lower-income donors will likely tighten their belts.”

They go on to state . . .

“Some fundraisers expect that this year’s economic upheaval will force even more small-dollar donors to stop giving,”

It’s hard to know how much nonprofits will be hurt by the crisis caused by the pandemic.

There’s a loss in earned income, event income, or overall giving, for example.

But one thing is for sure, your top donors can be a difference-maker in your continuing to serve your mission.

Here’s why to focus on major gifts right now: 

1. Nonprofits are seeing a Drop in annual giving

Unfortunately, the lower level donors are those who are hit the hardest during this pandemic and economic crisis.

The economic uncertainty today may prevent lower-level donors from supporting a cause they feel so passionate about – your cause.

 It’s unfortunate for everyone.

But that being the case, look to the donors who make up your top 10% of all gifts received.

 As a nonprofit leader, you want to contact your top givers and share exactly how they can help.

 And that leads me to  . . .

2. Those who can give are giving

Your major donors have supported you in the past.

If they can, they will support you again and when you need them most.

Certainly, many companies are making large gifts in response to the coronavirus, social injustices, and economic instability.

People want to help and want to be asked.

It is your job to guide them in the donor giving process.

3. Don’t miss an opportunity for funding

You are probably asking, “Is this the time to ask for money?”


This is the best time to be asking your donors for money.

If you need funds – and I know you doyou need to be asking for money.

You will not know if a donor can or will give unless you ask. Certainly, that’s always the case – crisis or not.

Absolutely share the needs of your organization — of your beneficiaries and community — and how donors can help.

Let me say this . . .

Individuals are responding.

Corporations are stepping up.

Foundations are answering the call.

If you are not asking, you are missing an opportunity to fund your programs and for someone to assist in a meaningful way.


In summary, no matter the ups and downs in giving each year, we cannot dismiss we live in a wealthy, prosperous, and philanthropic society.

Giving will continue.

Those nonprofit leaders who report successful fundraising efforts — look to those with the ability to give.

Decide what you will do to be a recipient of giving during this time of volatility.



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 nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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