You just landed a ten million dollar mega gift for your organization. It’s the donation that you’ve always dreamed about! For those of us who have accomplished this, exhilaration hardly describes all the emotion that comes with raising a multimillion dollar gift from one donor. Gifts like this don’t come along that often, but when they do, they can dramatically change an organization. That may seem obvious, however, there has been some conversations as to whether mega gifts are a good thing. I personally think they are a GREAT thing and appreciate generous donors who feel compelled to share their wealth in that way.
Multimillion dollar gifts and mega gifts come in all shapes and super sizes and whether you work at a smaller nonprofit or one that has a $100 million budget, you can gain a lot from a mega gift. As I mentioned in my last article The Difference Between a Principal Gift and a Mega Gift mega gifts are not always given just to capital campaigns. Here are a few ways a gift of this size can significantly bolster your organization.
1. Provide the funds needed to accelerate your mission.
Mega gifts can amplify your mission in such a way that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Instead of serving five hundred students or feeding 15,000 people you could triple or even quadruple the numbers. We always talk about impact and to make an impact, you need funding. A mega gift can make it possible to do just that!
2. Bring large, organization-wide projects and initiatives to life.
This applies to not only universities and hospitals programs, but smaller nonprofits too.
For instance, look what a mega gift can do for a smaller nonprofit with a vision of launching a housing program for homeless families. They take this ten million dollar gift and create a rental assistance fund that provides assistance over a 5-year period to hundreds of clients.
3. Kick-start your endowment.
You need more than one million dollars today to reap the rewards of a robust endowment. Go big! Take this ten million dollar gift and start an endowment to fund your operational costs. If you frame up the ask in the appropriate way and draft a gift agreement that gives you flexibility, those funds can become unrestricted while still honoring the donor’s intent.
4. Significantly increase your organization’s visibility and reputation.
When you land a gift of this amount, and make your announcement to the world, it demonstrates that you have a brand worth investing in and the credibility it takes to manage significant donations. There have been several organizations over the past few years that have lost brand equity among donors. However, recent mega gifts to their organizations brought new life to their brand. These mega gifts generated renewed interest from other major donors who are now giving these organizations a second chance at getting their funding.
5. Start the conversations that matter to your constituents and other donors.
It’s interesting to see what some groups are doing with their multimillion dollar gifts. These gifts do not always go right to programming, capacity building, or even endowments. I have seen gift agreements that allow for a portion of the money to be used to build collaborations with other nonprofit organizations, public entities, and communities. The funding often is used to do assessments and plan for larger projects. Gifts that fund this type of work are rare, but do make a significant impact on the communities they fund.
There are some people who say that a multimillion dollar gift could actually be problematic and not worth the time, especially if the donor wants to dictate what you have to do with the donation. Nothing in life is easy or simple. Think about the amount of time you are putting into donor cultivation events, fundraising events, or direct mail appeals. Those fundraising efforts take a ton of work and do not even come close to providing you with the revenue of a multimillion dollar gift. So don’t let the magnitude and sheer size of a mega gift steer you away from considering it for your organization. Imagine the difference it can make!
Stay tuned for part three in this three-part series to learn how to attract these gifts.