I few years back I was in line at a local fast food chain. In front of me was a young girl perhaps 6 or 7 years old. She had a fist full of change and ordered a shake. Much to her chagrin she did not have the amount needed. Without hesitation she scooped up her change and placed it in the small change receptacle for a local charity. I was amazed and thought…this is a major donor.
What I learned is that a major gift has nothing to do with numbers. Consider for a minute what words you would use to describe an annual donor of $100. You might say that donor is knowledgeable, or has some belief in the mission.
Now think of the way you would describe a donor of $10,000. You might say involved or invested in your work. You would certainly say capable. You might say passionate or connected.
For certain you could agree that the donor at the $10,000 level is more deeply engaged and has a relationship with your organization that goes beyond the surface. Donors who make major gifts are more thoughtful and therefore it takes more time to acquire their support.
All too often we miss the mark because we spend far too much time focusing on the size of the gift. Instead think about what the donor might want to know. For example, can staff and board talk effectively about how your organization is truly unique? Can you articulate where you will be in three or even five years?
Ask your board at the next board meeting to answer: list five reasons why donors should support our organization? Share the responses. Tax considerations and recognition might influence the size of the gift, but not the desire to make it in the first place. The desire to make that gift comes from understanding the power of your work and the impact it has. The desire to make that gift takes time…and time is not a dollar amount. Just think that little girl contributed to changing a life with just a handful of change.