While fundraising is often a game of hitting singles and doubles, development staffs sometimes look to gear up for a homerun through a major gifts program.
During the recent Association of Healthcare Philanthropy Conference, Daniel Otto, senior consultant for DeLauro & Associates Consulting in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Kelly Hurtado, executive director of Our Lady of the Lake Foundation in Baton Rouge, La., presented “How to Build a Major Gifts Program” and offered five steps to developing a successful initiative.
Determine need based on data. Questions to ask include whether your organization has a pool of $1,000 annual donors and if members of the community have made major gifts to other organizations.
Recruit and maintain people who can help. Look outside the box to find skilled and experience relationship managers such as medical device salespeople. Determine individuals’ skills and abilities and offer continuing education through webinars and conferences.
Implement related systems and programming. Build a major-gift portfolio using databases, volunteers and physicians. Provide regular opportunities for discussions and strategy development with your major gifts officer or team and cross train your annual giving, events, research and data management staffs on major gifts and their role in developing a pipeline and strategy.
Build your team using developmental professionals, medical staff and community leaders. Development professionals can gather information and facilitate strategy and discussions, medical staff are capable of articulating a vision and sharing patient and economic impact, and community leaders may be relied on to bring creditability to your organization and share their personal stories.
Follow up with metrics. Metrics may include number of active prospects, face-to-face visits, solicitations, successful closures and dollars raised by individuals and teams.
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