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The Whats, Hows, and Whys of Major Gift Solicitation

Resource Center - Foundation

Vern SnyderThe benefit of major gifts is obvious. But the process of identifying and securing them—that’s not so obvious.

That’s why AFP has put together a Dec. 10 webinar, led by Vern Snyder, ACFRE, vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Toledo, on how to define and calculate a major gift and the process of working with a donor.  We sat down with Vern briefly to learn a little more about major gifts.

AFP: How do you define a major gift?

Vern: Major gifts are those gifts that can fund important projects and programs, demonstrate the donor’s belief in the organization’s mission and have a transformational impact on those priority programs, projects and the entire organization.  It is not the number of zeros but the impact.

AFP: How do you calculate how much to ask for?

Vern: In my background it is called review and evaluation.  In effect this process is a combination of prospect research, input from knowledgeable volunteers, the donor’s interests and past giving.  The most important input is from the volunteers.  Simply put: Interest + Ability = Potential.

AFP: How do you take the shock or “sting” out of a really large ask?

Vern: If the “ask” is set up properly there is very little shock.  The donor, through the cultivation process, understands the magnitude of the project, his/her importance to the project and how they might make this gift.  Does the donor get a little pale when asked for a million dollars?  Yes.

AFP: How long should it take to cultivate a major gift/how many touches?

Vern: Research indicates 18 months to 2 years for a major gift defined as $100,000 and up with 7 to 8 contacts over that time.  View these numbers as a roadmap.  Many times the process moves more quickly if the solicitation plan is designed to close more quickly.

AFP: On a different topic, you’re an ACFRE and a member of the ACFRE Certification Board. Obviously this designation is important to you. How as achieving your ACFRE helped you both professionally and personally?

Vern: The ACFRE certification process had a significant impact on me.  The process helped me to solidify my philosophy of philanthropy, have a clearer understanding of the impact of philanthropy on our society and our world, as well as a deeper appreciation of donors and their wonderful ability to change the world.  The ACFRE credential provided me with confidence that I know my profession and can teach others.

To find out more about donor motivation and major gift cultivation join us for Vern’s webinar on December 10, 2015 at 1:00 PM Eastern, “The Whats, Hows and Whys of Major Gift Solicitation”. 

For more info or to register, click here.  

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