Building relationships with donors
Building relationships with donors

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Building relationships with donors

4.2 The ‘targeted’ or ‘top-down’ approach

This approach to seeking big gifts rests on being quite clear and determined about your objectives. If you want to secure large financial contributions – with five, six or even seven figures – then you have to orientate your thinking and your energies to that end. You cannot expect big gifts to arrive as windfalls or as the byproducts of other fundraising activities. If you want to get large contributions from those who are capable of making them, you have to ‘go for it’; it is no use feeling ill at ease about issues of ‘elitism’ and status or hoping that you can hold on to some sort of middle ground in which major donors can be treated in the same way as the bulk of your £50-a-year subscribers. If you want to attract the commitment of those capable of making a major donation to your cause, you must have a matching commitment to them which shapes your initial research, the style of your approach and the precise request you present them with. A strategy like this requires substantial investment of time and resources – a recent benchmarking study put the cost of major donor development at 28 per cent of the money raised, compared to a ratio of 20 per cent for fundraising in general (Lloyd, 2006)

In securing a major gift, the best person to do the asking is someone who is of a similar status to your potential donor. It is essential that they also draw credibility from having themselves made a contribution of the order you are seeking. Campaigns for large contributions to secure the leading donors in a capital campaign, for instance, are most effective when led by people from outside the organisation who are peers of your target group and who can communicate your proposition in ways which will be most readily heard. A big gift request is not a one-way transaction. It involves you in identifying areas of mutual interest and concern with your donor and enabling them to share in the development of your cause in ways which are satisfying to them as well as to your organisation.

B625_2

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus