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Nonprofit Fundraising 101 by Darian Rodriguez Heyman

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Chapter 9 Major Donors: Building Relationships, Making the Ask, and Stewardship

“Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.”

—Henry A. “Hank” Rosso

Introduction

Did you know that in 2014, 80 percent of the $358.38 billion in charitable contributions to U.S. nonprofits came from individuals? The single largest contributor to the 7.1 percent increase in overall giving, according to Giving USA, “was an increase of $13.88 billion in giving by individuals—58 percent of the total change between 2013 and 2014.” And even in countries where the government provides the lion’s share of support to NGOs, tapping into the massive potential of individual supporters is absolutely critical to your success. Now that we’ve provided some tips for building out the base of your donor pyramid in our last chapter, let’s move on to looking at how to engage major donors who can transform your work and your organization.

As we noted in Chapter 8, all individual fundraising programs require a lot of time and effort. They require an organization committed to relationship-building and keeping people involved; they require staff, board engagement, and strong stewardship. But if done well, the payoff is big. Donors who are engaged and treated well can become life-long supporters. They can also be great sources of new donors by connecting you to others who support your cause. To learn more about why major gift fundraising is so crucial to nonprofit success, I spoke with well-known fundraising ...

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