hand writing a plan into a journal

What is a cultivation plan?

For your top 20% donors (more if you have the time), I recommend creating an individual cultivation plan.   The cultivation plan is your vision for how you’d like a relationship with a major donor to develop.   It is an opportunity for you to visualise and then record the way in which you envisage a donor making their own personal trip around the donor cycle, as a supporter of your charity. In practical terms, it’s the place where you plot out the actions which […]

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a journal open on a wooden desk

What is a Case for Support?

  Fundraising, like every profession is FULL of its own special brand of jargon.  Cultivation, stewardship, solicitation, ‘Case for Support’…. the list goes on. The latter is a phrase which gets a lot of airtime, but conversely, is also one which generates a lot of confusion.   So, what is a Case for Support?   Put simply a Case for Support is:   A written document which describes the need for funding and the proposed solution.   The basis from which all external comms are […]

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Defining a major gift for your charity

Last week, we looked at the broad definition of a major gift.  This week’s article will give you some practical tips on defining a major gift for your charity.  It’s different for everyone and the amount of resource you have plays a large role in dictating what constitutes a major gift for you.   To do this, you might find it useful to answer these three questions:   How much time do you (and your colleagues) have available to dedicate to this work? How much […]

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calculator, hand

What is a major gift?

It’s a key focus area for many a fundraising mix, but for those new to the idea, what is a major gift? Of course, it’s different for everyone and there are many definitions. Broadly though, a major gift is:   A single donation which is significantly larger compared to the average for your charity given by a major donor whose contributions are sufficient to warrant one to one cultivation and stewardship   The 80 / 20 rule applies here, so 80% of your income will […]

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rainy day

The rainy day fund -the right level of charity reserves

The right level of charity reserves is an important debate and pertinent for the beginning of 2021 for obvious reasons. Our 2020 Benchmarking study asked respondents how many months’ running costs they had in reserve*.  The average number of months was 5.5. I wonder what the figure will be for the end of 2020 and again at the end of 2021? *please note, these were pre-pandemic figures and that most respondents were charities with an annual turnover of £1m plus   Best practice It is […]

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chocolate brownies

Asking a major donor for a gift without fear

Asking a major donor for a gift can be a nerve wracking experience.  In this post, I want to show you why you don’t need to be scared (and promise to whet your appetite along the way…) I’m part of a book club.  It’s called the Totally Awesome Women’s Network book club and mostly we read personal development / non fiction stuff. Last month’s tome was ‘Chillpreneur’ by Denise Duffield-Thomas, also author of ‘Lucky Bitch’ and ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch’. Errr…. My judgy pants were […]

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black notebook

I am not your black book

The little black book. Treasure trove of ‘names’: connections, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, business contacts and family members. Being interviewed for both permanent roles and consultancy contracts, I’ve been asked (on more than a few occasions now) about the personal connections and contacts that I would be willing to bring to the role. Below is an example of a genuine interview question (to which I responded ‘absolutely not’):   “Please gives us the names of ten contacts you would introduce us to if you were appointed […]

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images spectacles notebook

Major donors and the charity image problem

My Uncle John and his wife, my Aunty Judy are two of my favourite relatives.  They have worked hard all their lives, endured challenges, taken some big risks and are now (mostly) retired and in a position where many would start to think about philanthropy and / or taking on a trustee role. Except Uncle John is not keen on charities. He is a very generous man, supports numerous causes through donating / participating in events (plus my aunty volunteers at their local hospice shop) […]

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thorn in my side

How to identify a major donor prospect

When considering how to identify a major donor for your charity, don’t allow yourself to become distracted by the house / car / appearance.  It may be only skin deep… Allow me to elaborate.  Chris Dawson, founder of The Range (home / DIY / garden centres) is Devon’s first billionaire. Therefore, every major donor fundraiser working in the locality will have him suggested to them as a possible prospect.  He is our local Richard Branson and quite frankly, a thorn in our sides (sorry Mr […]

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coffee and chat

Major gifts fundraising and informal, agenda free conversation

Last week’s article pondered how ‘simple’ major gifts fundraising really is and wrestled with the idea that the title of our new Major Gift training course is perhaps at risk of dumbing down or minimising what is a highly sophisticated profession.   It is my dream to make Major Gifts fundraising accessible to as many charities as possible and to help those new to it to distill it, as far as possible, into some easy starting principles.   The importance of informal, agenda free conversation […]

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