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How To Find Your Most Generous Donors

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All donors are not created equally. While they are equal as human beings, they’re not all equal as revenue sources.

Some donors can cost a great deal to acquire, and then only make one gift before lapsing.

As fundraisers, we have a responsibility to raise money efficiently, investing our time and resources prudently.

For example, it wouldn’t be efficient to try to reach a big fundraising goal by asking everyone to give a small amount. We don’t want everyone to give a small gift. We want the people with the capacity to make major gifts to make them.

There’s a fundraising story about Bill Gates receiving a telemarketing call from a young student alum asking fellow Harvard alumni to donate. Interestingly, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after three semesters and never graduated. Even more interesting? Bill’s reply to the young student. He gave an enthusiastic yes and then asked how much other folks were giving. When the student replied that “most people were giving $500” Bill replied, “Great, I’ll give that amount as well.”

That $500 may be a large gift to some, but it’s not a large gift to Bill Gates.

In fundraising, you want the people who can give the largest gifts possible to make them.

Jerry Panas, who wrote the number one selling fundraising book to date, Asking, once said, “Your goal as a fundraiser is to get the largest gift possible, in the shortest amount of time possible, to the greatest joy of the donor.”

But how?

Where can you find your most generous donors and prospective donors?

And how do you know how much to ask for?

Where to look for your most generous donors

If you’ve ever read the book The Millionaire Next Door, then you may realize you could have very wealthy people in your records who don’t appear to have massive wealth.

They don’t drive fancy cars or live in mansions. Their net worth may surprise you because they live a very modest lifestyle.

How can you find these ‘diamonds in the rough’ who may be hiding out in plain sight?

What if you knew more about their generosity, how philanthropic they are, and what causes they hold dear?

Get to know your donors’ giving habits

Bloomerang bakes Predictive Giving Insights into the platform. Having these insights available for all your donors enables you to tailor your communications and engagement strategy specifically for that prospect or donor, deepening your philanthropic relationship.

How useful and advantageous would it be to have your donors’ motivations, giving preferences, and wealth at your fingertips as you prepare for a visit or ask?

Imagine how efficiently you could use this data to build both major and mid-level portfolios.

Instead of coming to work wondering which donors you should focus on, you’d have a system that brings hidden gems to light that you might otherwise have missed.

Ask for the right amount every time

How stressful is it to visit a donor not knowing how much to ask for?

Knowing what they’re giving to other causes and how engaged they are with you can help you ask the right donor, for the right amount, for the right project every time.

Thanks to Bloomerang’s DonorSearch integration, you have access to the Online Suite of Tools to find new donors.

You can also use the ProspectView Research tool to look up historical records of charitable and political giving by individuals, foundations, or businesses, to help move a prospect giving to similar causes to become part of your donor family.

ProspectView Research tool makes it easy to prepare for one-to-one conversations and increase the likelihood of securing gifts at the right level by understanding their interests, values, and giving capacity.

You can use the Marketing List tool to segment your audience based on past giving, wealth, and demographic data to perform targeted prospecting campaigns within your Bloomerang email tool. If you don’t have email addresses, you can add an email append to match constituents’ names and mailing addresses with their current email address.


One of the most common mistakes small and medium-sized nonprofits make is having a one-size-fits-all ask string and reply device that isn’t tailored to the person receiving the appeal. You need to tailor the ask string based on their generosity. It’s a critical part of your strategy to upgrade donors. Inviting all your constituents to give the same ask amounts can cost you generous gifts and leave large sums of money on the table.

Adding DonorSearch Prospect View to Bloomerang means you can easily build segments for campaigns, enabling you to target groups of prospects for a first-time gift, mid-level donors for an upgrade gift, or lapsed donors with a smaller gift to win them back.

What’s most valuable by far, however, is that you can finally have the major gift portfolio of your fundraising dreams—filled with major gift donors and insight into their generosity.

How are you finding your most generous donors? Leave a comment below. 

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