We Could Count our Lead Gift Prospects on One Hand!

Andrea Speth

By Andrea Speth, Vice President for Consulting Services

It is a scary truth that most significant fundraising efforts depend on at least a few larger or major gifts in order to reach their goal. This is often the element that scares fundraisers the most – will they have enough major donors to make a multi-million-dollar fundraising effort possible?

Recently we directed a $2 million-dollar campaign for a rural hospital in a community of 13,000 people.  Because we conducted the feasibility study, we knew that there were only a few people with the capacity for six-figure gifts. After these individuals, potential gifts went down dramatically to $25,000 or less.

The campaign’s success would depend on maximizing these top gift prospects!

To do this, we began by asking ourselves some key questions:

  • Did the potential donor give a gift intention in the feasibility study?
  • What is the strength of their connection to the Hospital?
  • Have they made previous gifts to campaigns? If so, how recently and how much?
  • What is their cumulative giving?
  • What is the estimated financial capacity of the prospect?
  • Who has the strongest connection to them?

By answering these questions, we were able to formulate specific ask strategies to encourage each of the prospects to consider larger gifts. Here’s what happened:

Feasibility Study Gift Intention Actual Gift
$250,000 $1,000,000
$250,000 $500,000
$25,000 $100,000

It’s easy to get intimidated when asking a prospect for a large gift amount. We would challenge you to consider that you are also making a powerful connection between a donor with demonstrated affinity for an organization to a project with far reaching societal impact. Making this connection is powerful and exciting for any fundraiser!

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