By Jeremy Slessor
Where do Major Gift donors come from?
Perhaps your organization has prospect researchers, and they work to find you these donors. Perhaps members of your board refer prospective Major Gift donors to you to pursue. In another time you may have hosted an event to attract these donors. Moreover, it is possible you created a society or a leadership group of altruistic large gift donors to attract likeminded others. These are all viable streams for Major Gift donors to come to you.
However, you have more than likely already cultivated these relationships over years and years – and possibly without you or them ever knowing it.
They’re your constituents.
Yes, that’s right, Major Gift donors were inside your house this whole time. They came to you through another fundraising channel; they were there as an annual gift donor; they were a monthly donor with an untapped, significant, capacity to donate; they participated in your community events every year. These donors are among your constituents – they are your constituents!
It’s common knowledge that the longer your donor feels connected to your organization, the life-time value of that donor goes up accordingly. Meaning, if they have been an active donor for 20 years, they’ve historically given more than a new donor. Pretty simple math. Beyond accumulated donations, it is important to note the stewardship time spent. Over that period of time, they have developed a deep connection to the work you do and feel empowered by how they have contributed.
Sound familiar? Is this not the same sentiment we wish for a Major Gift donor to feel? What better way to keep that donor engaged than through an integrated campaign? Multiple touchpoints aren’t solely for solicitation, but also for validating those donor’s feelings as to why they support you.
Integrated campaigns, the silver bullet.
While your organization may have its own dedicated means of sourcing Major Gift donors, it’s important to bring on under-$500 and mid-level donors, too. Where will they come from next though? It’s pure random chance where they come from, so it’s best to cast a wide net. Integrated campaigns are the true solution to this. Each channel, be it Direct Mail, Signature Events, P2P, Monthly and Planned Giving, Digital Campaigns etc, all have a halo affect which boost other channels as well.
A common example of this is Direct Mail to Digital conversion. Perhaps you mail out tens of thousands of pieces of mail and mail response rates will determine its effectiveness. However, you might notice a small spike in online donations within the days of that mail arriving and a slow trickle effect thereafter. This is, of course, the mailing’s peripheral and residual effects, which can be difficult to directly attribute to the channel of origin. However, depending on your organization’s data infrastructure, you may be measuring the effectiveness of your Direct Mail AND its influence online.
All of your campaigns have this influence on other campaigns. Multiple touch-points will open many doors and windows into your organization, giving your constituents the variety of choice in how they want to support the mission and the cause they believe in. In sum, if your organization has multiple channels and streams of revenue, you will only stand to benefit from coordinating them.
Yes, this includes Major Gifts.