Cultivating Major Donors – Talent is as Talent Does

There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

Year after year, giving by individuals is always the largest source of charitable giving; in fact, many fundraising experts advise that 80% of a nonprofit’s funding comes from individual donors. In recent history, that percentage has never fallen below 70% and has been as high as 82%. 

If a nonprofit organization’s staff and skills are in flux, creating and implementing successful Individual and Major Donor Campaigns can be a challenge even in good times. Doing so in lean times or if the organization is having difficulty accessing or engaging donors in person, is even more challenging.   

The reality is that an individual giving program is about more than money. It’s also about broadening the organization’s circle of supporters – the people inside and outside the organization who care about your mission and how you achieve it. That’s why individual and major donor campaigns are a perpetual cornerstone of fundraising, and why there are various approaches to individual giving, from the annual appeal to a program designed to cultivate and solicit major donors one-on-one. 

How any individual organization defines “cultivation” and “solicitation” varies according to myriad factors, among them: size, lifecycle, staffing model, finances, and culture.  For example, a dedicated program manager who achieves excellent results could be an ideal donor cultivator.  An operations manager working closely with the finance lead could develop an excellent case for how the organization is committed to fiscal responsibility as well as to generating beneficial impacts for the populations it serves.   

Enlist these talented individuals as more than ancillary support for the chief fundraisers in your organization.  Program managers, operations chiefs, and financial officers should be able to generate the essential data and detailed reports more board members and other donors are demanding to see – in good times as well as lean.  That way, financial stability becomes the team’s priority, not just that of the development department.    

©Liz DiMarco Weinmann, B.E.A.M.-Impact Generator©  

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Liz DiMarco Weinmann

Founder | Creator | Owner: B.E.A.M.-Impact Generator©

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