Today, we’re giving you an essential tool for major gifts: a giving opportunities matrix to ensure you’re raising money for your organization’s true needs.
Without clearly defined giving opportunities, you are at risk of raising funds that (gasp!) your organization doesn’t actually need.
There’s a big distinction between raising money for activities that are “budget relieving” and for those that are above and beyond the budget.
Think about it like this: you have a previously defined cup (your budget) that needs to be filled. The cup is made up of fixed expenses and strategic priorities. Every gift you solicit that doesn’t help fill that cup is a potential distraction from the essential work at hand. You’re pouring water (or wine!) all over the table instead of into the cup.
But wait, you say, don’t I want to raise as much money as possible? And we say, maybe not! Certainly not if it saps resources away from your core work.
But wait, you say again, my major donors want to restrict their gifts. They won’t give to general operating. And we say, that’s right, so you need to give them a little direction.
There are basically four categories of gifts you can raise through major gifts:
As you can see, this list is in order of what you should be emphasizing in your solicitation activities.
We’ve created a simple Major Gift Opportunities Matrix to help you organize what you’re pitching to prospects and define your key messages.
Make sure you reach consensus internally on your list of opportunities to ensure that the money you’re bringing in to the program team is money they can use to deliver results.
We recommend you start with this matrix when you’re launching a major gifts program. Or, if you’re already deep into major gifts fundraising, use this tool at the beginning of each year to reset your priorities.
Generally speaking, your donors want the same thing you do – to make a positive impact. Guiding them toward the investments that will best enable you to do your work is a favor to all involved.