Effective Major Giving Strategy Fuses Story-Telling, Strong Communication

MajorDonor_StrategyCreating and maintaining sustainability for your organization is something that takes time. Adding an effective major giving strategy to the bunch can help add fuel to the fire — however, this approach is also something that takes, you guessed it, time.

When considering your list of past donors, it’s likely there are a number of individuals who are already aware of and support your organization that would be strong candidates for giving big. Consider individuals’ past giving to yours and other organizations, involvement in a volunteer or board capacity for nonprofits and understand factors such as real estate ownership to get a sense of their wealth capacity and aligned charitable attitude. Knowing who belongs on your list helps build an effective major giving strategy.

After creating a targeted list of individuals to add to your major giving “funnel,” you need to be sure to have an individualized game plan for cultivating and convincing that donor (remember, it takes time.) That’s where this cultivation calendar comes in, to monitor that individualized relationship and plan ahead.

But, there’s more to it than just focusing on the person. Take a look at how your organization is communicating with the public as a whole — how well are you translating your story?

Story-telling is a key piece of convincing any donor, large or small, to give. It’s especially essential to an effective major giving strategy.

Major donors want to understand specific impact, and what better way than through a story? While at the heart of it all we’re literally talking about explaining that $5,000 will supply 100 meals to families, those are the details you share in-between the lines. Start with an emotional story from one of those families, explain their hardship and bring readers to tears — this all helps them connect with the impact.

Another great way for major donors to understand your impact is to get individuals involved and volunteering. Stories about your impact alone might not be the final convincing factor. Talk to your current and regular volunteers, and tell their stories. Why do your volunteers commit their time to the cause? What is their take-away? If a major donor understands the feel-good moments of your current volunteers, they’ll be itching to experience their own.

Sprinkle these stories in a variety of places that might touch your major donors — such as on your social media channels, e-mail newsletters and print mailings. But, also be sure to bring up specific details during your one-on-one meetings with your donors (again, but of your strategy on your cultivation calendar). You need to be 100% sure your donor is hearing these stories. Create a brochure that features one of these stories, and send the donor home with it.

Keep major donors connected, keep them engaged and find those emotional ties that speak to the individual. It takes time, patience and strong communication skills — and eventually, you’ll see regular major givers giving, time and again.