Two Things You Need to Consider When Creating a Major Gift Campaign

Last updated: June 8, 2021

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You know how valuable major gifts are for your organization. With a single major gift, you can fund an entire program, salaries for staff members, or a new building—all of which help you serve your organization’s mission even more effectively.

When performing prospect research and wealth screenings for a new major gifts campaign, there are two things you should consider:

  • What prospects you’re targeting (keep affinity in mind)
  • Whether you’re asking for the right donation amount

iWave’s innovative platform can help you identify high-quality prospective donors to ensure that you’re targeting the right people with your campaign and asking for the right donation amounts. Contact us to find out how!

Consider What Prospects You’re Targeting: Keep Affinity in Mind

When you’re planning a new major gifts campaign, your prospects are the most important thing to consider. By using iWave’s industry-leading platform to identify the right prospective donors, you’ll be able to:

  • Approach the right people for donations
  • Generate more targeted and accurate ask amounts
  • Learn about the causes and industries that motivate your donors
  • Nurture the donors with an affinity for your organization and cause
  • Uncover the Hidden Gems you may not have considered as major gift donors

Most importantly, identifying the right donors ensures that you’re spending all your energy on the ones who are most likely to give to your organization, instead of those who don’t have a passion for your cause.

How to Identify the Right Donors

We’ll start with how to identify the right donors. At iWave, we consider three factors:

  1. Propensity: Has this person given to nonprofit causes before?
  2. Capacity: How much wealth can this person afford to donate?
  3. Affinity: Is this person passionate about your cause and organization?

Think of a Venn diagram with propensity, capacity, and affinity in separate, intersecting circles. Your ideal donors will be in that sweet spot in the middle of the diagram where all three intersect. These are the prospects who are interested in giving to nonprofits, who can donate a major gift, and who are also interested in your cause or organization.

These are the donors that you want to nurture and target during your next major gifts campaign!

Donor Affinity: The Missing Piece

While many platforms allow you to identify a donor’s wealth capacity, as well as their history of giving to nonprofits, only iWave’s innovative platform factors in the affinity aspect through an affinity score. This is a vital element in identifying the donors who are the best prospects for your major gifts campaign.

Here’s why: If your industry is in education and you’re approaching a donor who mostly gives to healthcare causes, then they may not have any interest in giving a major gift to your organization, even though they have the ability to—however, if you’re building a new nursing school, you would know to talk to your donor about the impact their donation could have in educating future healthcare providers.

By knowing a prospect’s affinity, you’ll know ahead of time how likely they are to respond to your major gifts campaign and how to tailor your communication around their passions. That way, you’re only expending resources on the donors who are most likely to give, you’re also increasing your chances of securing your next major gift donation.

How Multi-Lens Scoring Can Help You Find the Right Donors

At iWave, we know that people are multi-faceted, and so is your organization. That’s why we offer an industry-first Multi-Lens Scoring feature that allows you to customize your search even more to uncover new donors and identify the right prospects.

Every search you complete with our platform will be customized to your organization’s specific preferences. Multi-Lens Scoring allows you to dive even deeper into these results by viewing your prospects under additional parameters.

For example: If you’re an organization in the healthcare industry, then you’re likely searching for donors with a healthcare affinity. However, if your major gifts campaign is to help you open a new teaching hospital, then you may also want to search for donors with an education affinity.

With Multi-Lens Scoring, you can do both at once. By applying an education affinity as an additional lens, you’ll be able to uncover donors with an affinity for one of those industries, or both! You can apply up to five lenses based on capacity, memberships, education, annual appeal, and more.

Consider Whether You’re Asking for the Right Amount

We know just how much time and energy you put into your major gifts campaign—from researching and identifying your donors, to creating proposals and acknowledging your donors, there’s plenty of work that goes into an effective campaign.

With so many items on your to-do list, it may be tempting to approach your donors with a blanket ask for the amount of your major gift threshold. However, this may not be the most effective way to ensure that you receive all the donations you could be receiving. Instead, you may want to create more targeted direct asks. With actionable insights from iWave, you can.

The Importance of Targeting Your Direct Asks

Major gifts from caring and passionate donors allow you to serve your mission even more effectively. So, you want your campaign efforts to really go the distance in terms of bringing in donations for your organization. Targeting your direct asks to the specific donor is one of the best ways to ensure that no money is left on the table.

By this we mean leveraging your donors’ capacity to ensure that you’re asking them for a big enough donation.

Here’s an example: If a major gift at your organization starts at $50,000, and you ask all your donors for that threshold amount, then those who decide to give will likely give the amount you asked for. However, what about the donor who would have given $75,000 if you’d asked for it? By targeting your asks to the individual donor, you ensure that you receive the maximum donations.

How Actionable Insights from iWave Can Help You Increase Your Contributions

When you use iWave for your wealth screening or prospect research, you’ll receive actionable insights that tell you exactly how to use the data you uncover from our platform. First, we’ll help you sort your donor pool into the following segments that indicate how likely they are to donate:

  • Hidden Gems: The prospects that are an exciting area of opportunity
  • Distinguished Philanthropists: Major gift donors who are interested in your organization
  • Your Champions: Prospects who have an affinity to your organization and a history of donating to nonprofits
  • Not Now Prospects: The individuals who aren’t philanthropic to you or any other nonprofit organization, despite having the capacity to give

We uncover these categories based on each donor’s iWave score, which is a unique score based on your organization’s customizable profile. We also create a profile for each donor, which includes their history of giving, their affinity to your cause, in-depth biographic information, and a forecasted gift ask capacity.

You can use these actionable insights to determine who is most likely to offer your organization a major gift, and exactly how much to ask for, so no money is left on the table.

Other Things to Consider When Creating Your Major Gifts Campaign

Outside of wealth screening, there are a few other things to consider when creating your major gifts campaign, like:

  • Your key messaging
  • What motivates your donors
  • Your media channels
  • Your calls to action (CTAs)
  • Your timeline

Since you know your donors so well, you can individualize your messaging for each prospect. iWave’s innovative donor profiles provide actionable insights on the communication channels and methods that each of your donors prefers. Use those methods to reach prospects when asking them for a major gift.

Be sure to include any messaging that speaks to your donors’ key motivators, like their affinity for your industry. Also pay special attention to whether your donors prefer digital, print, or in-person communication methods—and include clear CTAs with all your messaging.

Now that you know how you’re going to message your major gifts campaign and approach your donors, set a clear timeline for raising your funds and then stick to it.

Create Your New Major Gifts Campaign with Actionable Insights from iWave

Your prospects and ask amounts are important to consider when creating a new major gifts campaign. With actionable insights from iWave, we can help you target the right donors and personalize your ask amounts to each donor. We offer a comprehensive onboarding process during which we can show you all the ways our industry-leading platform can benefit your organization’s major gifts program.

Are you interested in using data to maximize your organization’s fundraising efforts? Find out how by requesting a demo from iWave today!


Written by Admin

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