The most critical factor in creating a MG Program is the availability and willingness of a Leadership cadre — volunteers who will accept responsibility for the success of that program.
It is a “given,” in the creation of a major gifts program, that if you build a relationship with your “Friends”/“Prospects” that involves them — gets them working with you toward attainment of your mission, when you actually ask for the (major) gift, their response is more likely to be, “Of course, what took you so long to ask !?”
But, to get your Friends to the point where they can be considered serious Major Gift “Prospects,” you must commit to a process that may not result in a Major Gift for months, or years — it can be a different timeframe for each Friend.
Sure, you might be able to get your Friends to write you one-or-more checks during the cultivation period, but the amounts of those checks would likely not qualify as “major” — they would not fit into one of the top categories on the “Gift Range Pyramid,” and not, therefore, move you significantly closer to your dollar “goal.”
Getting those (non-major) gifts, however, can be an important part of the Friend’s buy-in — which I’ll address when I discuss “Prospect Cultivation.”
A Major Gifts Committee is an absolute essential, ideally composed of (one-or-two) savvy and committed Board Members, a couple of current (preferable) or soon-to-be major donors, the CDO (chief development officer) and/or Major Gifts Officer, and (an educated) CEO.
That committee would be responsible for the initial creation of the list of those who they identify as Potential Prospects (Suspects), and then the linking (on paper) of those Suspects with Cultivators.
Watch for part two on this topic, next week; and, watch for our discussion of “What is Major Donor/Prospect Cultivation,” in two weeks.
Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com
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