4 Seeking big gifts
Big gifts are often seen as the ‘Holy Grail’ of the donor development process. Journals, seminars and colleagues all hint at the glittering prizes available and rumours abound of the extraordinary largesse such-and-such a group recently laid its hands on. So where's yours? Your trustees read high-profile accounts of huge endowments which, if they came your way, would answer all your problems and prayers ten times over. ‘Found us any rich patrons yet?’ they ask menacingly.
And that, of course, is the nub of the matter. The subject of big gifts is bedevilled by confusions. It is not always clear what a big gift might actually look like and how you should set about finding one – other than living in hope of being discovered by an anonymous benefactor, or of trying to accelerate an individual up the donor pyramid. Here are two alternative ways of approaching the big gift issue more realistically. The first concentrates on the absolute size of contributions, but requires considerable investment and possibly culture change in an organisation. The second concentrates on identifying big gift opportunities relative to the size of the overall target, in the knowledge that the bulk of the money in any appeal is likely to come from a comparatively small number of donors.