Capital Campaigns #11: The Lower-Rated Prospects

Sections of this topic

    “Lower-Rated” refers to those prospects whose gifts/commitments will fall outside of the definition of a “major gift.” (See: What is A Major Gift?) That doesn’t mean that the total giving from those prospects would be an insignificant dollar figure … it just means that there’d be a relatively large number of prospects, requiring a large number of solicitors/volunteer workers … and that you may not be able to solicit all of these prospects on a face-to-face basis.

    These are the prospects whose support you shouldn’t need to reach your Campaign Goal. But, as this is likely to be a large segment of your constituency — a large number of prospects, there are some strong reasons you’d want them to be part of the Campaign:
      (1) The more strongly your community is “bonded” to your organization,
      the more likely they’ll $upport you on an ongoing basis;
      (2) The greater the number of community members who support your
      organization, the more likely foundations will be willing to $upport you; and,
      (3) The more support you get from the broad community, the more likely
      Major Donors will want to be (visibly) associated with you … on an
      ongoing basis.

    I referred earlier to Divisions tasked with obtaining gifts in various specific dollar ranges (i.e., $3,000-$5,999 and/or $6,000-$9.999). Prospects for these ranges of commitments are often assigned to the Special Gifts Division.

    And, prospects for whom you have no idea of the likely amount of their commitments would be assigned to the General Gifts, Membership Gifts or Community Gifts Division (whatever name works best for your circumstances and that segment of your constituency).

    Ideally the Special Gifts prospects will all be solicited on a face-to-face basis – the example (in my previous posting), showing the breakdown for 186 prospects, is typical for this particular Division.

    Prospects in the General Gifts Division, the largest segment of your constituency, can be approached in many different ways, depending on the size of the group and their locations. (See my posting this Thursday, December 10, discussing some possible methods of soliciting these large constituencies.


    Have a comment or a question about starting or expanding your basic fundraising program, your major gifts fundraising program or a capital campaign? Email me at With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, we’ll likely be able to answer your questions.