Tactics to identify your nonprofit's potential major donors

It’s right in the name – major donors are a major priority for nonprofits! While different organizations will have their own standards for what is considered a major donor, the goal fundraisers have is the same: to identify the supporters with the most potential and work with them to maximize their contribution.

Whether your nonprofit considers a major donation to be $1,000, $10,000 or more, certain signs can help you zero in on those with the most potential. By generating reports that highlight these groups, you can craft specific outreach strategies to begin growing their support to major donor levels.

So what groups should you aim to identify to reach your strategic fundraising goals?

Their gift sizes have been increasing

We live in an era of short attention spans, and oftentimes, this means that a supporter’s interest will wane over time. You likely have many donors who were compelled to give by a friend’s appeal or a particular news story, only to give less in the future if they returned at all.

On the other hand, when a supporter’s gifts have been increasing over time, you have a clear sign of a major donor prospect. These individuals have not only been motivated to donate once but when the next opportunity came, they felt even more compelled than they had the first time.

In many cases, these are supporters with a real, growing passion for your cause, and they may be willing to make a major donation if requested.

They have inconsistent giving habits

It may be counter-intuitive, but oftentimes, inconsistent giving habits aren’t a sign of disinterest, but a sign of personal passion for your cause. Yes, some of your best supporters will make their giving routine or recurring – such as making a $200 gift every December or each time your major summer event occurs – but that isn’t the only sign that a donor truly cares.

Other supporters may not have developed a specific pattern, but rather, their inconsistent giving habits are a sign that your cause is often top of mind. Rather than giving $200 at the same time every year, you may have a donor who has contributed $50 at random intervals throughout the year, or who has participated in different campaigns in different years.

While this donor hasn’t yet developed consistent giving habits, they are still showing consistent passion. This may be the result of appeals from your organization or just from their own internal motivations. Reaching out to donors like this to formalize their giving habits with a planned major donation can often be very effective.

They have participated in multiple ways

Your nonprofit likely runs all sorts of fundraising programs. There are campaigns run throughout the year, major and smaller events, and partner-based initiatives. Each of these will likely have a group of volunteers providing support as well.

Even if they have been inconsistent in giving, you will often find that your most passionate supporters have participated in multiple of these programs. While they may have only made one or two direct donations, they may have also attended a few of your fundraising events and volunteered to help create awareness.

These individuals often don’t jump off the page as major donation candidates, as their overall giving level may be relatively low, but their clear interest and motivation to help means that they may become a major donor when they have the funds available.

They are central in a network of donors

With an effective donor management solution, you should be able to track important supporter information like family relationships and workplaces. That makes it easy to know that you have five connected donors from the Smith family or 15 donors from XYZ Corp.

It may be a safe assumption that your cause has an advocate among these groups, and that person is likely a major donor prospect. It may take some simple investigative work to identify who that central supporter is, but some of the signs could be the earliest donor or highest donation volume.

Starting a conversation with this person by thanking them for all of their great advocacy can begin a more personal relationship with a chance to lead to a major donation.

Identify your major donation prospects with Causeview

With powerful supporter tracking from your fundraising, event, and volunteer initiatives to go with intuitive reporting, Causeview makes it simple to identify those with the best potential to become major donors. To see it for yourself, 

Book a Free Coaching Call for Causeview today