Lol.  Aaaah…  I tell ya, whether the organization is 12 years in or 12 months in, to get an organization to work on Major Gifts and often even an Annual Fund program is a challenge.  I can not figure out why.  Again, I shall repeat this, in all well run orgs, individual gifts are 70% of the income.  I am rapidly refusing to do business with people who operate on grants and galas.  Quite, simply, it’s offensive.   If an organization is not committed to building community, it’s going to have a short shelf life.   I’m interested in organizations that have long term vision and major community commitments.

So, to support my point.  Barbara Talisman on The Major Gifts Gap.  Note the link between a well and regularly assessed board and a healthy Major Gifts program.

Gap in Your Fundraising Pyramid? – Three Suggestions

July 14, 2010 <!–Barbara Talisman–>


Does your fundraising pyramid look like this? A big gap between your annual donors and campaign/endowment funders? Does it keep you up at night? Do you have lots of opportunity for donor entry without the time or cultivation plan to move them up the pyramid? Are you effectively using all the tools in your fundraising and communications tool box? And maybe you have a few large donors at the top of the pyramid, who, if you lost, would create huge disruption to your funding.

Here’s the thing, we cannot ignore the middle of the pyramid. This gap is critical to the success or failure of our ability to financially support social change. I know you know that. But do you have some solutions? Here are some suggestions:

  • When was the last time you assessed and audited your technology, communications, donor base and fundraising plan? I know, no time or money. But if you don’t take the time, your fundraising program will just continue to lose ground or churn. (Maybe that’s keeping you up at night?) We need to use the resources we have wisely or get the right resources to make our work successful and efficient.
  • Make a commitment to major gift work. There are lots of ways to get started. Select donors to be a part of the program and your assessment and audit can help you do that (see I told you it was a good idea!). Engage others in the cultivation and solicitation plan (assessment again). COMMIT to reaching these donors ONE on ONE, FACE to FACE on a REGULAR basis.
  • Engage your Board – or work on re-building the Board. These leaders are the key to the organization’s (and by association your) success. (Another nightmare?) We know we know this….but we have to ACT to make change happen. These tools for assessing your Board can help you move this forward.

If any of this resonates with you, make a commitment to filling your gap in the pyramid. If I can help, let me know.