Asking For The Major Gift – Part 3 of 3

Sections of this topic

    There is a simple, but not simplistic, description of what major gift fundraising is all about: It’s having the right person, asking the right person, for the right amount, at the right time, under the right circumstances.

    The two right people are the cultivator/solicitor and the prospective donor. They’ve developed a common interest, a relationship with, and/or a feeling for one or more of the NPO’s programs. They’ve talked about the history of the organization, how effective it’s been, all the people whose lives have been changed because of that NPO, and what the NPO’s plans are for providing more service and/or serving more people. They are definitely the two right people !!

    The right amount is not just a figure determined by the Development Committee but is the dollar amount the prospective donor knows will accomplish what s/he wants to see accomplished. [Whether it’s feeding hungry children or getting his/her name on the side of a building, it’s the donor’s need that’s being satisfied.]

    The right time is when both the solicitor and the donor know it’s the right time. It’s when they’ve had the conversations (possibly over many, many months) when they know each other well enough to know it’s time. When they both know that the donor is ready to say, “Yes.” That’s the right time.

    The right circumstances depend on the two people. It can be in the office, at the home of either person, over a meal, with or without spouses, on the golf course, or in a taxi. With all the time that these two right people have spent together, they’ll know….

    There’s no script – it’s not needed. They know each other well enough to know when, where and how.

    As I’ve said, many times before, “Major Gifts fundraising is about the needs of the donor;” and, learning about those needs is the first step toward planning the Ask.

    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
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