Major Donor Fundraising What is Major Donor Fundraising? Major donor fundraising is the process of soliciting large donations from high net-worth individuals.  The level of success of your major donor programme will determine whether your development office produces good results or incredible ones, so we advise you to take it very seriously.  Why is Major Donor Fundraising so important? Remember: more than 80% of your funds are likely to come from less than 20% of your donors (the split may even be more like 95% : 5%).  It’ll take a lot of £25 donations to make much difference on a large fundraising project.  Quite simply major donors will make or break your campaign so look after them. How do you ask someone for a major gift? It will be rare that you simply write to a high net-worth individual and receive a giant cheque in the post (that’s not to say it doesn’t occasionally happen!).  More commonly major donor fundraising is about a several step process: 1. Identify high net-worth individuals - conduct research to find prospects, preferably people with a link to your institution 2. Find any reason to meet them - perhaps ask for advice about their area of expertise, invite them to an event, ask them to host a work experience student, etc. 3. Find out what their interests are and what they care about - this helps you identify what kinds of projects they might support 4. Engage their interest and involve them with your school or university 5. Tell them about a campaign and how their support could make a difference 6. Make the Ask - ask for a gift, state an amount.  Then shut up. 7. If they give, then thank, thank and thank again - this is where donor stewardship  starts, and repeat giving becomes a possibility. Above all, be genuine.  If you’re looking for quick wins then working in the world of development is not for you.  You need to build genuine relationships in which you enable donors to support and make a difference to a cause that they care about and believe in.  That’s how fundraising becomes a two-way and not a one-way process. Want to learn more about winning over major donors?   Read: Relationship Fundraising: A Donor- based Approach to the Business of Raising Money. See it on Amazon. © Orier Digital Limited 2012