4 Reasons you Can Secure Large Gifts Without Being Face-to-Face

Apr 16, 2020Donor Communication, Donors, Fundraising, Fundraising Success, Leadership, Nonprofit Funding, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

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Nonprofit leaders need not be face-to-face to secure large gifts. Without a doubt, physical distancing is no excuse for not asking for a major gift.

In fact, you should be asking for large gifts! Donors care about you, want to hear from you, and want to know how they can help.

I know that many corporations, foundations, and individuals are pausing or redirecting their funding. That makes sense. Certainly, they want to help organizations supporting those with critical needs.

However, if you are an organization not addressing critical health and safety needs, that does not mean you take a break from fundraising or give up after learning that funding is going elsewhere.

You Know Your Loyal Supporters Well

In overseeing fundraising for an international organization for over 10 years, our donors were all over the country. There were likely more times than not that I asked for a large gift over the phone. Needless to say, I could not always be face-to-face to ask a donor for support.

I knew these individuals, corporate leaders, and foundation representatives. They were not strangers to our organization.

You know your loyal supporters well. Moreover, these are your organization’s closest friends. You are working together to make a difference in your community.

Without question, you can secure large gifts without face-to-face meetings.

You owe it to your mission.

Secure Large Gifts Without Face-To-Face Meetings

Here’s why you can secure large gifts without face-to-face meetings:

1. Asking Over the Phone Works

Donors are eager to talk with you. They may be thinking:

I wonder how Angela and the ABC nonprofit are doing. I have not talked with her in a while.

I received their newsletter, but I would love to hear from her.

I wonder how I could help. I would like to do something to help.

Often donors hesitate to pick up the phone and call you. No doubt, it is up to you to check-in with them and invite them to support your mission – a mission they are deeply passionate about.

Some people believe it is easier to make an ask over the phone rather than in person. This is your chance to find out!

Know that your language is the same over the phone as it is in person. Certainly, it may feel less personal, but you can make it personal with your positive attitude and warm approach. Most assuredly, your tone of voice and the inflection in your words will draw in your donors.

I know you may feel frantic in this crisis, but stay calm and focus on the donor.

2. Your Passion Will Carry You

One of the most important elements to secure large gifs is the donor feeling your passion. When you are deeply committed to a cause, your enthusiasm is contagious. It will carry you.

If you don’t allow your excitement to show, you will be flat and the call will not go well.

Also, stop focusing on the “what-ifs.”

— what if they say no

— what if they ask me something I don’t know

— what if they don’t engage in the conversation.

It is up to you to be prepared for questions, know your talking points, and go into the call with a positive attitude.

Find your passion and recruit others to help you make a difference.

3. Nonexperience Asking for Major Gifts

Absolutely, don’t let your lack of experience in asking for a large gift get in the way in giving someone joy. You don’t have to be a veteran fundraiser to ask for large gifts.

During this crisis, people feel helpless. They want to help. Donors want to help the organization they believe in.

Allow people to give. No doubt, you already have a relationship with your top donors. You already know that they believe in your work.

Give them a chance to make a difference. Clearly, don’t decide for them.

4. People want to be Asked

I was working with a client terrified in asking someone for a gift. We meet to discuss how the ask meeting would go. A board member had set up the meeting, provided background information, and shared that the donor was expecting to talk about a gift.

When I spoke with the executive director following the meeting, he said he didn’t ask. He froze.

As leaders of nonprofits, philanthropists know how nonprofits work. They know the organization depends on people like them. When you don’t ask, donors are puzzled. Sadly, they may even lose confidence in you. You don’t want that!


In summary, major gift fundraising is about making personal appeals, not massive pleas through large mailings.

Most importantly, you are a connector and a relationship and community builder. You care deeply about the mission of the organization and the people who support the mission. It is not about money.

Again, show your passion and allow loyal donors to step up once again. When you do, you will secure large gifts — without face-to-face meetings.

One More Thing…

I know you want to be an accomplished fundraiser and overcome your fundraising shortfalls caused by the virus disruption.

You did not plan for this. No one did.

But it’s time to secure large gifts beyond event fundraising and beyond this crisis. To get going, you need to grab my FREE Major Gift Fundraising Plan TEMPLATE created just for you.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Select “Get Free Plan” on the bright green button at the top of this page
  2. Download your FREE Fundraising Plan.
  3. Watch for course opening of Your Ultimate Guide to Major Gift Fundraising

To raise money now, you need to have a fundraising process in place at your organization.

I understand and care about small nonprofits, which is why I’m opening early my course, Your Ultimate Guide to Major Gift Fundraising. Watch for registration opening soon!

You urgently need to raise money to meet your budget. And I can help.

Read more here:

Nonprofits Seeking Big Funding in Crisis: A New Set of Rules

What Nonprofits Need Right Now: 5 Ways to Help

Why You Must Ramp up Donor Communications Now

5 Steps to Donor Thank-You Calls: Show You Care During a Crisis

The Coronavirus Threat to Fundraising

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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