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How to Cultivate Major Donors | Part 2 Identification

Once you have established a clear definition of what constitutes a major donor for your organization, your next step is to create a comprehensive list of current, previous, and potential donors who fit this category.

For the purpose of this discussion, let's assume that a major donor is defined as someone who has either made a one-time gift of $25,000, donated a total of $25,000 over a 12-month period, or has the capacity to give at that level.

Begin by reviewing your donor database to identify individuals who have made cumulative gifts of that amount over a 12-month period. Segment them into two groups: those who have given at that level within the previous two years and those who contributed at that level more than 24 months ago. It is important to approach these two groups differently, considering the time elapsed since their last major gift.

If you have not yet used a service to conduct a wealth screening on your donor and prospect database, it is highly recommended to do so promptly. This effort will help identify individuals in your database who are already supporting your organization but at a lower giving level yet possess the capacity to contribute significantly larger gifts. If you would like to pursue a wealth screening for your organization, Westfall Gold is ready to help you through that process. Research indicates that 90% of individuals in your database who have the potential to make major gifts are currently giving at a lower level.

Donors in your database who are giving at a lower level but have greater capacity have already demonstrated an affinity for your cause through their giving. This is a key factor to consider when setting priorities and developing strategies to encourage donors to increase their contributions to your organization.

The final aspect of donor identification is to actively build a robust prospect list. This step is a fundamental element that sets successful nonprofits apart. Those who neglect this task often face stagnation or even failure because they have not put in the effort to expand their donor base. It may seem like basic work, but it is crucial and can be considered essential for best practices in donor development.

It is important to acknowledge that attrition occurs in every donor file. Regularly, you will lose donors due to various reasons such as waning interest, shifting priorities, life events, or financial challenges. If you fail to consistently add new donors at a rate equal to or greater than the number of donors you lose, you will regress. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to recognize this fact. This applies to every segment of your donor file. It is vital to continually attract new donors to each segment to maintain growth and progress in your fundraising efforts.