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Is your annual giving leading to major gifts?

Fundraisers – have you ever had this conversation?

“Make sure that donor X isn’t on the list for the annual appeal – she’s a major donor!”


“Donor Y gives through direct mail, so they are probably not a major giving prospect”

If you have, don’t be embarrassed – I’ve had those conversations, too.

Creating silos within fundraising operations (annual giving vs. major giving, for example) is a common and understandable occurrence. After all, different fundraising channels often have different goals and metrics, require different skill sets to manage, and are treated differently when it comes to planning and budgeting.

But those differences are internal.

I don’t know of any donors that think about their giving in those terms.

A common pain point in nonprofits is this self-inflicted conflict between annual and major giving programs. Often, this conflict is wrapped up in fear – fear that a donor is one letter away from stopping their donation.

Of course, there are differences between annual giving and major giving programs: but a strategic fundraising program will use each program to strengthen the other.

For example –

Donors that have made multiple gifts through an annual giving channel (such as direct marketing) may be prospects for a major gift and a deeper relationship with the organization.

Annual giving vehicles are excellent touchpoints for major donors and prospects. Sending a copy of a newsletter or appeal letter with a personalized note to highlight a client or impact story is a good way to keep the conversation with a donor progressing.

Fundraising teams that are focused on creating opportunities for donors to engage with and relate to the mission of the organization should be working collectively, across fundraising channels, to share donor information and strategy.

In other words – your annual giving program and your major giving program should be part your organization’s community- and relationship-building activities – and should all be focused on giving people a chance to meaningfully connect with your

mission and cause.

How's does your annual giving support your major giving? Let's talk ...

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