Looking for new ways to change up your major donor fundraising strategy? What worked for you in the past may no longer be the best course of action today as your nonprofit has grown and evolved. Not to mention, a changing economic climate may call for big shift in fundraising methods.

Luckily, your friends at iWave are here to grow alongside you and help you make the strategy changes your campaigns need.

The Basics: A Refresher

You want your fundraising efforts to be as successful as possible, so let’s take you through a quick refresher to make sure you’re fully prepared to launch a new strategy.

Identify Your Major Donors

It’s estimated that around 88 percent of gifts are received from just 12 percent of donors. So identifying your major donors is a crucial first step. When starting out you probably established a donation amount that signified major-donor status. But when was the last time you revisited this number?

Have your team sit down and go over the numbers to learn what the top tier of donation has been. This number is bound to change over the years as your organization grows and changes. If your major donor list appears too long, readjust your major donation amount and start from there.

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Reevaluate Your Team

As a part of a nonprofit, you know the value of crafting the right team. If your employees have been working hard, resulting in great outcomes, you may have been comfortable with the team as is. However, some additions or modifications may be needed as you continue to develop.

Talk to your team about areas where you have had the most success. For example, if your marketing campaigns have yielded great results, you may want to expand your efforts in this area and bring on more marketing experts to join you.

On the other hand, team growth is only useful if you have the proper resources. In speaking with your team, you may also learn where you can consolidate roles or change roles you no longer need. Reevaluate your team on a regular basis to ensure every department is running as efficiently and effectively as possible. Bigger isn’t always the best option in this sense.

Switch Up Your Fundraising Strategies

1. Donor Recognition Wall

A donor recognition wall is a great way to highlight the key donors for your cause. This should be a physical wall that visitors can see when stopping by your headquarters as well as a virtual wall existing on your webpage.

Donors want to see themselves getting the recognition and thanks they deserve. This tangible acknowledgement will help them feel valued, leading to continued support throughout the years. Additionally, some new prospects may view the wall and feel inspired to support you as well.

By including a virtual wall on your website, you create an opportunity to spread such inspiration to even more prospects and donors. Though they may not be able to visit due to distance or travel limitations, they can view the virtual wall from the comfort of home.

2. Planned Giving Program

Has your fundraising team looked into planned giving yet? Planned giving is a unique type of giving since there is no set time when the funds will be received. Instead, the gift is usually left in a will or trust. It is not uncommon that planned gifts are some of the biggest your nonprofit can receive.  

There are many different legal factors that go into this type of giving, so make sure you’re expanding your team as needed. Planned giving is also a delicate manner, since you’ll be cultivating donors making end-of-life plans. Make sure to approach this type of giving with sensitivity and respect.

3. Major Donor Society

How do you currently reward your major donors? A great way to acknowledge and thank your biggest supporters is through a major donor society. There are a lot of perks to creating an exclusive club, some of which include:

  • Exclusivity: Supporters like feeling like they are a part of something unique and just for them—and they will be!
  • Encourages Donations: If you have a specific gift amount for inclusion in this club, then you might encourage mid-tier donors to become major donors, so they can become a part of the program.
  • Opportunities for Stewardship: This club will have a specific mailing list and email chain, so you’ll be able to reach your target audience easily to host exclusive events, appreciation luncheons, and giveaways.

4. Major Donor Acquisition Events

Events catered towards major donors typically yield great results since they gather likeminded people together to learn more about your nonprofit and have a good time together.

These events are usually live auctions or galas and can be held in person or online. Online events are a great way to reach people across the country and make your event even more successful.

To make sure your event is as successful as possible, and to help make future events run more smoothly, make sure you have the following items:

  • Registration and RSVPs
  • Speakers
  • Vendors and venues, if held in person
  • Event marketing
  • Date tracking and reports
  • Follow up thank you letters/emails

While events focused on major donors are helpful, focusing efforts on lower tiers can also help your nonprofit.

5. Consider More Inclusivity, Too

When launching a new fundraising strategy, you’ll want to have a good mix of major donor events as well as efforts open to the public. Text campaigns and other mass-level fundraising can reach out to a larger audience and drive even more funding than a major donor event.

In the past, you may have made your events too exclusive, so look into more wide-reaching events for low- to mid-level donors. Text campaigns are some of the easiest to host in the modern day. Nonprofits reach out via text, and donors reply to the message to make their donation.

6. Board Connections

You know how valuable your board is to your mission, so it’s important to reach out to them on a regular basis to leverage their connections. Ask them if they know anyone with the means and inclination to support your mission.

If they know someone, you will want to have the board member personally introduce you. This will help to build and develop a stronger connection with the prospect, increasing your chances of them becoming a major donor in the future.

7. Share Results

Transparency is key when it comes to fundraising. Your donors want to know how successful your program has been. Such successes are the perfect demonstration of their donations in action. It makes their personal impacts more apparent.

Have you updated your supporters lately? If not, consider new ways to get the word out. Whether it’s a monthly email or posts on your social media, you want to inform your audience of the impacts of their support, which will ultimately draw in more donors.

8. Engage Major Donors

As a nonprofit, you know the importance of volunteer work. Nothing shows supporters how important the mission is like allowing them to get their hands dirty themselves. Consider engaging major donors by inviting them to come volunteer with your team!

Volunteering their time will help them:

  • Learn more about the specific work your organization is doing
  • Gain a better understanding of your mission
  • Meet more of your important staff members
  • See the ground-level impact of their funding

9. Returns on Investment

Like being transparent about results, you want to show your donors their returns on investment. Sit down with your past supporters and show then how much their gifts have accomplished. This helps donors understand what changes they have personally affected, encouraging them to continue supporting your mission. 

10. Performance Metrics

Have you been tracking your performance metrics? If not, this is a great way to restart fundraising efforts and craft a new strategy.

Track the following data points:

  • Gift asks made
  • Gifts secured
  • Average donation size
  • Major donor retention rate

With these numbers in hand, you’ll gain a better idea of where you need to focus your efforts and what strategies are currently working and which need to be improved.

11. Matching Gifts

It’s estimated that about $4 to $7 billion in matching gift funds go unclaimed every year. If your organization hasn’t been utilizing matching gifts, then there’s clearly a large untapped market waiting for you.

Matching gifts are when a prospect’s company pledges to donate the same amount or match the gift. Fundraising can automatically double if done correctly. Use wealth screenings to learn what potential donors work for companies that offer matching gifts and then reach out with an ask.

If a donation is made, you’ll want to make sure the matching gift program is mentioned since there are a few extra steps your nonprofit and the donor will need to go through to secure the gift.

Learn how you can raise more major gifts with iWave’s integrations

Best Practices for Online Fundraising

If you’re looking to shake up your fundraising efforts, the best way is to head online. By fundraising online you’ll be able to reach a larger audience rather than just local supporters. You can also save time and resources when it comes to planning.

In order to put you in the best position during your online efforts, make sure you’re taking the right steps.

Increase Non-Fundraising Communication

Since the main goal is raising major gifts to support your cause, your inclination may be to focus all your attention on communicating about fundraising.  However, it’s a good idea to encourage communication of all types with your supporters.

Provide consistent updates about the progress of your organization either through email or social media posts. Educational posts are also a good idea to help increase awareness and encourage interaction. You don’t want all posts to be serious though. Mix in posts about upcoming holidays, seasonal activities, or exciting world events.

Get personal with your audience, so they can better understand your nonprofit. Some donors may be on the fence about whether they want to support you or not and creating a personal connection can help them decide.

Offer Virtual Meetings

If you’re trying to cultivate an out-of-town donor, you may be wondering how you can still meet with them face to face. While in person contact has been the traditional go-to, in times when this isn’t possible, you should still set up virtual meetings.

Getting to put a face to the mission helps supporters connect with you and establish a more personal relationship. When it comes to cultivating a major donor, nothing is more important that a strong relationship, so take the time to schedule these critical meetings.

Increase Giving Channels

How are you currently receiving donations? Is there a donate button on your website and links on your social media pages? If not, you’ll want to add this immediately. You never know when a casual observer could turn into a donor—even a major one—so have multiple online avenues set up for quick and simple donations.

Did you know there are also text-to-give fundraising campaigns? Make sure to explore all channels of giving!

Increase Donor Appreciation

There are many ways you can virtually show appreciation to new and existing donors. Always send a handwritten letter to major donors with specific details. These letters should be personable and even mention details you discussed in your one-on-one meeting.

Download our complimentary eBook: Major Gifts From Major Donors

Come See How iWave Can Help You Craft Fundraising Strategies!

iWave pledges to be by your side every single step of the way during your fundraising journey. If your organization needs to change things up, reach out to a member of our team to learn how our next-generation platform can take you to the next level of fundraising.

New to iWave? Then, give us a call to set up a free demo and fundraising assessment to learn more about all our software can do to empower your nonprofit!