14 things you must know about your donors to win major gifts (including planned gifts)

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Here are 14 things you must know about your donors if you want to raise major and planned gifts (13 of which can be obtained from a donor survey):
1- Why do they care about your nonprofit’s mission?
2- What programs interest them and why?
3- Who and/or what influenced them to care about your nonprofit’s mission?
4- Do they have any interest in honoring or commemorating that influencer?
5- How would they prefer to give (cash? assets?) and when (time of year)?
6- How else could they give (that, perhaps, they didn’t realize)?
7- Would they consider a legacy gift?
8- What do they hope your organization will do with their money?
9- How do they want you to communicate back to them about the impact of their gifts?
10- Would they like to get involved as a volunteer, in an a group or in a leadership position?
11- What are their demographics (especially their capacity to make a large gift and age)?
12- Do they have children?
13- How do they rank your nonprofit when comparing yours with the competition (other nonprofits)?
14- Do they want to have a one-to-one relationship with a fundraiser/representative?
 
You can get all you need to know about your donors from a simple donors survey (if you do it right).
Want to learn more about how to do it? Check out my free report: The Ultimate How-To-Guide for Conducting Nonprofit Donor Surveys

 

Related posts:

>> 16 Ways to Get a Meeting With Wealthy Donors and Major Gift Prospects
>> How to Turn Failures Into Opportunities
>> Do You Know the Names of Your Donor’s Influencers?

3 responses to “14 things you must know about your donors to win major gifts (including planned gifts)”

  1. Mike says:

    Greg,
    I like your points. However, 33% of our nonprofit clients planned gifts are first time gifts due to us showing their constituents how to self-direct any estate tax liability from the government to their favorite charities. As you can seem there was no donor relationship prior to the planned gift,

  2. Laura Waller says:

    Good solid list, Greg – I believe that Mike’s organization is doing well, but they could boost planned giving results by digging deeper and going broader with clients in the ways that marketSmart assists with. Connecting beyond themselves is really important. I wonder how important the estate tax liability really is . . . income taxes are at least as significant, if not more, for the majority of annual giving donors. But your point about connecting passion with passion is key. Thanks for all you’re doing to keep us thinking BIG.

  3. Greg Warner says:

    Thanks Laura. I agree.
    And, there’s ALWAYS a donor relationship. But it might start out only with the cause, not with an individual at the nonprofit.
    The trick is to ask the questions I listed above to help develop a personal relationship. That way, you won’t be hoping and praying for more first time donations to be legacy gifts. Rather, you’ll be getting bigger legacy gifts thanks to the relationship that has grown through engagement.

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