9 Secrets for Success in Major Gifts Fundraising

Here are Nine Things I Wish I Knew My First Year in Major Gifts

1. Stop talking so much. Ask Good questions and listen.

2. It’s OK to not know every answer.

3. Think where you want a relationship to be 10 years from now rather than 10 weeks from now.

4. It’s NORMAL to text donors. (For some reason I thought this was too informal)

5. Passion for the mission along with discipline is INFINITELY more important than skill or connections.

6. Don’t be afraid to look stupid.

It’s way better to ask lots of questions that you “should” know the answer to than to never learn because you want to be perceived as an expert.

7. BE DIRECT. No one likes vague asks or sort of kind of asking for a visit.

8. Dysfunction is in every organization.


Success in major gifts comes from lots of practice.

Get out there and be bold!

What would you add to the list?


Kevin Fitzpatrick is the owner of One Visit Away, a consulting business helping leaders of nonprofits schedule more and better visits with their benefactors.  Kevin’s goal is to help fundraising professionals constantly seek to deepen their relationships with their benefactors.  After all, you’re just One Visit Away from growing your mission and your impact.  


Related Resources:


Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Excellent points! I’m happy to add one that, in fact, was taught to me early on and has changed everything: Research and discover God’s perspective on the topic. The more I have come to understand this, the more I have been able to adopt a genuine service mindset, meaning (in part) that engaging donors in the process is greatly rewarding to them. (This is a very, very brief description of a very, very deep and meaningful mindset.)

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!