Last week Wendy and I taught a two-day Development and Fundraising course at Tidewater Community College’s Academy for Nonprofit Excellence. On the second day, Kay Stine of Norfolk Collegiate School, Billy Foster of TowneBank, and Christine Morris of Hampton Roads Community Foundation served on a panel that addressed issues surrounding major gift asks.
All of the panelists agreed that if there’s one key to getting major gifts, especially during a challenged economy, it’s cultivating and nurturing relationships. Prospective major-gift donors need to be engaged with the nonprofit, understand and support its mission, and feel well-connected to its work before they’re willing to consider a gift.
Accomplishing this is a step-by-step process that doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a strategic cultivation plan tailored to each potential donor. But as we’ve seen time and again—and as our panelists confirmed—the result is almost always worth the effort.