Fundraising for Nonprofits: 5 Weekly Steps to Secure Major Gifts

Feb 18, 2021Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

1199951988955540.VAVu1Mb3IscbyBJp4Njf_height640 Fundraising Leadership Nonprofits Philanthropy

Do you know the weekly steps to secure major gifts? Absolutely, it may seem overwhelming to establish a path engaging or re-engaging donors. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Start by asking yourself, “What do I have to do to secure a gift?”  

Thoughts disentangle themselves as they pass over the lips and through pencil tips. Until you can write down a clear goal, you don’t really know what you want. – Michael Hyatt

5 Steps for Fundraisers to Secure Major Gifts

In looking at philanthropy, here are five steps to consider weekly to get you to that end result of securing a large gift:

Step 1. Establish a goal.

Most importantly, consider one major donor at a time. Maybe start with current and loyal donors – those committed to your organization at some level. Then ask yourself, “What is possible with this donor, and what do we want to accomplish?” 

Needless to say, until you write down your goals, you don’t know where to start.

Step 2. Outline each donor strategy.

In meeting with clients, one of the most effective activities we do is identify engagement strategies for top donors. It’s a valued time we spend together in our client-coaching relationship.

That being said, we take each of the organization’s top donors and discuss their giving history, likes and dislikes, commitment to the mission, and passion for a particular program, for example. It’s such a fun and exciting process. In fact, CEOs and development directors get creative and encouraged thinking about how to best interact with their donors.  

But strategizing does not end there.

Step 3. Decide on specific next steps

Once you know what you must do to engage each of your top donors, you identify a checklist of next steps to secure major gifts and work the list. Get singularly focused on specific, actionable next steps to take. Certainly, this list keeps you motivated.

Here’s an example of a next step: When discussing a donor strategy with a client recently, I asked who would be contacting the donor. The client responded, “We only have the business contact of this donor, and she recently retired. We don’t have her direct telephone number.” Obviously, the next step was to find the number from a friend, family, board member, or colleague. 

Above all, focus on your next steps and take action.

Don’t overthink it. Think about what to do next to move toward reaching your goals and working your strategies….and then do it.

No doubt, you are strengthening your relationships with your donors.

Step 4. Set target dates.

To transform a strategy into a next step, set a deadline. The best way to hold yourself and colleagues accountable is to select target dates of when you will complete the activity. 

Consider . . .

When do you plan to contact the donor? Also, who will contact the donor? What’s the best way to reach them? How long do you wait to hear after leaving a voice message?

Likewise, the next steps may be as simple as writing an email, sending a text, or leaving a voice message. 

It feels real when you say you will contact Mr. Smith by Tuesday! But that’s how accountability works. Without a deadline, you rarely act on the strategies you established.

When you fail to act, donor cultivation dwindles. And securing large gifts becomes out of reach.

Step 5. Review your goals and strategies weekly.

It’s so easy to get distracted from what’s vitally important because of day-to-day rushes. But strengthening the relationship is essential in cultivating donors and securing a gift. 

Simply, establish a time for strategy review with others into your weekly ritual to stay focused on what you must do to reach your goals.

This process will move you to raise more money for your organization.

You can Secure Major Gifts

Most fundraisers don’t realize how easy it is to secure large gifts. It merely takes intention, a process, and gumption. The key is establishing a process.

On top of that, if you have aget up and go” attitude, you can raise significant money for your organization. There’s no doubt!

So make fundraising happen by outlining donor strategies, deciding on the next steps, setting deadlines, and reviewing goals and strategies weekly.

Other Resources:

Nonprofit Leaders to Live MLK’s Dream

Racial Injustice: 4 Immediate Ways for Nonprofits to Take Meaningful Action

How to Incorporate Storytelling in 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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