Fundraising 101

What is a Major Gift?

Major Gifts are the backbone of your campaign.  They fund new initiatives and keep your existing programs running. They also help identify individuals who are invested in the growth of the organization that you can continue to steward to increase their annual gift.  It is important that your organization has a donor recognition program to help thank and steward major gift donors. Most recognition programs are broken out into varying levels.  For example, an elementary school may recognize every donor over $500 with a picture drawn by a kindergarten student. In addition, every donor over $5,000 may receive two tickets to an Annual Gala and a branded coffee tumbler.

Major Gift: A major gift is defined individually by each organization and campaign as a gift over a certain dollar amount. Depending on operating expenses and revenue of the organization, the minimum value of a major gift may vary from $250 to over $10,000 or $1,000,000. In a capital campaign, major gift programs have much higher minimums than annual campaigns because a constituent’s donation is a one time gift rather than part of an annual giving program. Major Gifts will take up a larger percentage of your revenue than the smaller gifts.

Involvement: Your role is to support Major Gift initiatives and help steward donors. You can never say thank you enough – it is the most important part of your job and should never be overlooked. A hand-written thank you note from a participant who was directly impacted by a donation can go a long way. A Major Gift is not just about the one time donation, but rather the long-term relationship the donor will have with your organization. It is your job to make sure that donors know where their dollars are going and are happy about it. If you find that certain donors would find different recognition opportunities more meaningful, start to think outside of the box. Would Mr. Smith prefer two tickets to your Annual Gala or four tickets to your summer Golf Outing? Learn more about Stewardship Programs.