13 comparisons of annual vs. major gifts

The task of fundraising is so all-consuming that nonprofit leaders can lose sight of the ways by which different fundraising approaches can and should differ.

An example of that can be seen in the differences between annual gifts and major gifts. During the recent National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) conference and exposition, Viken Mikaelian, of PlannedGiving.com outlined several of the important differences between annual giving and major giving.

* Annual: For the ongoing work of the organization to sustain service. Major: For endowment, special equipment, building programs.

* Annual: The frequently asked for gift. Major: Infrequently asked for, but 10 to 25 times the annual gift.

* Annual: A quick decision. Major: More time is needed.

* Annual: Cerebral (“I’ll go ahead and do this”). Major: Visceral (great joy in making the gift).

* Annual: Best done by a personal visit. Major: A personal visit is always required.

* Annual: Can be solicited alone. Major: Best done in pairs, or more.

* Annual: No need for professional help. Major: Might need an attorney/accountant.

* Annual: Spouse not always necessary for presentation. Major: Spouse should be there.

* Annual: Volunteer can handle. Major: Might be done with CEO or staff member, with volunteer.

* Annual: Can often be done on first visit. Major: Might require two or three visits and follow-up.

* Annual: Out of income. Major: Out of assets.

* Annual: Cash gift. Major: Extended over three to five years.

* Annual: For the good of the institution. Major: For the good it does in the life of the donor.