Show me the money!

Individual major donors are key to any successful fundraising operation. A major gift is defined by the organization and can range anywhere between $1,000 and $1,000,000. To begin soliciting for majors gifts, you need to create a list of donors to solicit.

First, pull a list of all donors who have given a one-time or cumulative gift in one year over $1,000. Gather a small group (staff, Board, key volunteers) who know these donors and their financial standing. Ask this group to rate each donor in two ways: their relationship to the organization and their capacity to give to your organization. Here is a sample rating chart:

Relationship Rating (interest of potential donor in the organization)
Individual’s relationship to Organization:
• A = Very close to the organization (donor, Board member, key volunteer)
• B = Involved with the organization (volunteers, attends events)
• C = Knows the organization but does not support the organization (donor’s friends, community member)
• D = Has heard about organization, but is not involved (local community member)
• E = Has never heard of organization

Financial Rating (ability/capacity of potential donors)
Individual can make a potential gift of:
• 1 = $500,000-$1,000,000
• 2 = $100,000-$250,000
• 3 = $25,000-$100,000
• 4 = $10,000-$25,000
• 5 = under $10,000

You will want to record this information on an excel spreadsheet and possibly develop a moves management worksheet. A moves management worksheet tracks the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of each potential major donor. The moves management worksheet lists the potential donor, the donor’s rating (ex: 1A), the donor’s relationship manager and his/her history of giving or relationship with organization.

Moves Management Worksheet components
• Donor Name
• Relationship Rating and Capacity Rating
• Donor Information
• Relationship Manager
• Donor Interest(s) in Organization
• Solicitation “Ask” Amount
• Last meeting with and/or history of donor
• Cultivation of donor
• Next “move” with donor
• Successful Closure of donation
• Stewardship

The worksheet lists “moves” or clearly defined actions designed to “move” a potential donor towards making a donation. The worksheet outlines how to build relationships with potential donors by systematically guaranteeing they are receiving the right cultivation move at the right time. As the “moves” are made, it will be important to meet again to evaluate the “moves” and revise strategies as needed.

Move vs. Touch

Move = Qualified action that cultivates or stewards a potential donor
Example: a one-on-one meeting, tour of facility

Touch = Communication with a potential donor
Example: phone call, thank you letter

Next up: Cultivating these donors.

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One thought on “Show me the money!

  1. Hi Renee, I am thrilled to have found your blog and find it hard to stop reading your posts! Such great info and so little time to read. While researching moves management, I came across your April 27, 2010 post which got me to wondering if you could answer (or help guide us to the research) that would allow us to answer a question our IA team recently received from a trustee – “is there a standard/benchmark dollar figure which is related to a cost per ask?” they (board) understand the seven touch concept but actually are attempting to determine how much it would cost and what the return on investment would be if one or more of our IA staff was “out on the road” doing more soliciting and cultivating. Can you help me??? We are a gem of a museum telling regional history of the Adirondack Park in Upstate New York – $5M operating budget; opening May-October. Many thanks, Christine

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