[Previously posted on February 4, 2019 on advocace.com and repurposed for capitalcampaignservices.com.]

If you’re like many nonprofit leaders, you need major gifts to complete your capital campaign. A key question is: Are You REALLY Ready to Receive a Million Dollar Gift for Your Capital Campaign?

A study (“Mission Dollar Ready”, Johnson Grossnickle + Associates, Lily Family School of Philanthropy, 2013) conducted several years ago on educational institutions that have received gifts of $1 million or more provides useful insights, not only for educational institutions but for Christian ministries as well.

4 Characteristics of Institutions Who Receive Million Dollar Gifts

The study revealed a number of characteristics of those institutions that received major gifts:

  1. Longevity of the organization’s president or chief executive officer. The longer the president has been in office, the greater the likelihood that he or she will receive major gifts. It takes time and effort for a ministry leader to build relationships and trust with major donor prospects. This is not only true of the president of a ministry but also of the development staff. With the average development officer’s tenure being two years or less, it’s easy to see why some ministries find it hard to secure major gifts. The president’s ability (1) to articulate a powerful vision and (2) to connect that vision to major donors’ passions are two key components to building strong relationships with prospects. Notice the importance of articulating a vision, which we define as expected outcomes, as well as understanding what motivates individual donors to give. This reinforces the importance of building relationships with donors so one knows what their passions are.
  2. Longevity of the institution. Those that have been ministering to people for a long time are more likely to receive major gifts.
  3. Broad impact in terms of the numbers of people they serve. Those institutions which serve a large number of people, hence can demonstrate wide impact, are more likely to receive major gifts.
  4. Financial stability. Those ministries that have greater financial stability are more likely than others to receive major gifts. Many major donors want to see a track-record of financial success before they make a major investment in the ministry.

Get Ready for Million Dollar Gifts

The findings of this study have a number of implications for your ministry as you plan a capital campaign and seek major gifts:

  • Involve yourself deeply in planning and executing the capital campaign. You will need to cast a compelling vision for the project and make a commitment to expend considerable time and effort to build relationships with major donors and prospects.
  • Demonstrate the scope of the impact of your institution. How many people do you serve? What changes have you seen in their lives that demonstrate the impact of your ministry? What proof do you have that a major donor’s investment in your ministry will produce fruit?
  • Address the financial stability of your ministry. Few major donors want to be the one who makes your ministry financially sound. Many want to see that you’ve already practiced good stewardship with money you’ve been given in the past before they give you more to use in the future.

Are you REALLY ready to receive a million dollar gift?

We would love to help you get ready! Contact us to let us know you’d like to talk >>