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September 12, 2018

The Must-Have Tool for Major Gift Fundraisers

A long time ago now, I was part of a team that started a major gifts program at a big organization that was mostly raising money through direct mail. Building the program took many years and had lots of twists and turns. We learned along the way and I’ve carried that learning into the consulting work we do today.

But there is a super simple spreadsheet that we created for our major gifts team that stands out as the one thing I could never do without as major gift fundraiser.

This critical tool is what we at Front Range Source call a Donor Relationship Builder.

Like I said, this is really just a simple spreadsheet. It’s a list of your major gift donors and prospects with columns that track what you last did with that donor (as an example, invite them to an event) and what you have determined your next action should be to build the relationship with the donor (like send them a personalized proposal). It also lists dates of each past and future action, as well as who responsibility for those actions.

Think of it this way. Building relationships with major donors is like building relationships with friends. You can’t treat all your friends the same. Each one is different and unique. If you have a lot of friends to keep track of, you need a system so you can keep your unique relationship going. That’s what the Donor Relationship Builder is.

We’ve updated this invaluable tool and put it in our Toolbox of Free Resource along with some instructions on how to use it. Click here to download it.

You may be working with a donor database that can generate this kind of report. That’s fantastic! We hope you are using it!

But many organizations don’t have a database with this kind of capability. We know it’s a little extra work to create a spreadsheet outside of your database because it necessitates some double entry. However, you will find that having a Donor Relationship Builder – or a report like it – is the only to manage the very detailed work of major gift fundraising.

(When I first developed this report, we used a spreadsheet that lived outside of the donor database and then eventually were able to create a report that came from database.)

In any case, we want you to have the Donor Relationship Builder and use it. You’ll be able to see the relationships you are building with your donors through the stages of identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship in a personal and effective way.

Download it today and let us know how it goes!

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