What is a Major Donor for Nonprofits?
While there is no fixed value to determine what qualifies as a major donation, the definition of a major donor is still fairly simple; a major donor is an individual that makes a significant donation that has an impact on the organization. For some nonprofits, this may be something as little as $100 while others may consider $500 or even a million dollars as a threshold for a major donation.
How to Recognize a Potential Major Donor?
Surveys show that most nonprofits do not have a specific ‘major gift’ fundraising strategy. This is usually attributed to a lack of investment, employees, and expertise to help develop strategies.
In this case, nonprofits will generally look towards their current donor base in hopes of converting them into major donor prospects. Whether you are looking at cultivating existing donors or discovering new ones that can be potential for major gifts, you’d want to keep the following things in mind.
How Much Can They Reasonably Give?
A donor’s capacity to give is the first identifier. There may be donors who are very invested in your cause and want to donate, but they simply do not have the capacity to do so. As such, cultivating this type of donor would sadly be a waste of resources.
You want to look towards donors who are financially sound and may be persuaded to donate to your organization.
How Likely is a Donor to Contribute to Your Cause?
Wealth is not a good enough indicator of major donor potential. Along alongside being financially able, a donor also needs to be willing and interested to contribute to your organization.
You can gauge this by observing their level of engagement with your organization and other social causes. Are they an active member of society? Do they respond to correspondence you send them?
All of these are possible indicators of how likely they will be in contributing a major gift to your organization.
Do They Have Relevant Linkages?
Finally, an effective means to determine the likelihood of a regular donor to become a major donor is by finding out the links they have with the organization or the people working it. A Bloomerang survey suggested that major donors are cultivated through three potential groups;
- Existing donors
- Donors in wealthy communities
- Donors involved in causes similar to yours
These linkages are a good indicator that the donor will be more likely to trust your organization and mission enough to get involved.
Donors who have the capacity to give, interest, and relevant linkages to your organization and cause will be the most likely to become major donors and therefore, are the ones you should be focusing your time and resources on.