The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Mine Your Donor Database to Strike Major Gift Gold

Quick question: How much major gift funding would you guess is available to your nonprofit if only you had the time or resources to tap into it? We bet that number could be a tempting carrot on a stick to rally your team around a major gifts campaign. Considering the huge potential, it’s worth investing the time to develop a list of your top prospects.

In our Nonprofit 911 webinar 5 Steps to Start a Major Gifts Program, fundraising expert Gail Perry shared how to mine your donor management system to reveal rich veins of major gift gold.

Start at the Top

The donor pyramid is alive and well. We value every donor, of course, but major gift fundraising isn’t democratic. Limited staff, time, and resources means you’ll spend more time developing deeper relationships with people who can deliver the greatest support for your cause.

Your donor management system is a huge help here. You can run reports of your top current and previous donors (dollars or duration), sort by location or employer and so on, and even rank people in terms of commitment (attending events or volunteering). Choose a manageable number of top-ranked prospects and begin building those relationships.

Don’t have a donor database that can get the job done? Learn more about Network for Good’s newest product for small to mid-sized nonprofits: a donor management system that has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Learn more.

Dig a Little Deeper

Now that you’ve peeled away the top layer, run a list of the other key people in your system: board members, current and past. Former board members still care deeply about your mission. Like your current board, this group gave your organization their heart and soul, went to your meetings, attended your events, and opened doors to other donors. Keep those relationships alive.

Let’s say you’re launching a capital campaign. Host a party to honor founders and your full cast of board members. Now you’ve opened the door to reconnections, new connections, and conversations. Plus, fun social events attract people to your nonprofit and make them want to support you. They’re powerful major gift cultivation tools.

Look for Hidden Gems

This might surprise you: A 2012 study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University found that for every $100 from men in their sixties and up, women in the same age group gave $256!

While exploring your database for major gift prospects, you might overlook these older women in favor of, say, big-name corporate executives. Do so at your peril. This constituency is clearly looking for ways to make a difference in the world and offers significant giving potential.

Once you start thinking beyond the usual prospects, your donor management system will be a great tool for helping you unearth more of these hidden gems.

This is just the beginning. Download the slide deck and recording of Nonprofit 911: 5 Steps to Start a Major Gifts Program for more ways to use your donor management system to amp up your fundraising.

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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Want to raise more money and learn how to market your cause with bigger impact? You’re in the right place! The Nonprofit Marketing Blog is managed by our team of experts here at Network for Good. We’re here to bring you the best in nonprofit marketing trends, fundraising techniques, technology developments, and amazing nonprofit examples.

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