[INFOGRAPHIC] Major Gift Fundraising By The Numbers

Getting started in major gift fundraising can be tough, especially for organizations and fundraisers who have never cultivated and solicited a large gift.

This primer to major gifts combines data from our own survey of more than 700 nonprofits and advice from top major gift fundraisers in North America. Use the data below to create an effective strategy!infographic-major-gift-fundraising-by-the-numbers

Raw Data:

  • 58.87% of nonprofits do not have a major gift strategy
  • 53.37% of nonprofits consider multiple major gifts to be absolutely vital
  • 67.54% of nonprofits do not have a dedicated, full-time major gift fundraiser
  • 43.74% of nonprofits define a major gift as greater than $1,000
  • 35.90% of nonprofits define a major gift as greater than $10,000
  • 75.32% of nonprofits say a lack of investment on their part (manpower, expertise, strategy, etc.) is why they don’t do major gift fundraising
  • 88% of total dollars raised comes from 12% of donors

Anatomy of a major gift donor:

  • Already in your donor database
  • Has a deep passion for your mission
  • Has been giving to your organization for five years or more
  • Has the financial capacity for a major gift
  • Is a current or former board member or volunteer

Five things to look for during prospect research:

  • Previous giving to your nonprofit
  • Giving to other nonprofits
  • Participation as a foundation trustee
  • Federal political giving
  • Real estate ownership

Metrics you should track for success:

Activity Metrics >>

  • Actions (phone calls, letters, etc.)
  • Moves management plans created
  • Appointments set
  • Appointments kept
  • Number of personal visits
  • Percentage of unique visits
  • Asks made
  • Acknowledgements sent
  • Assists/shared credit

Constituent Metrics >>

  • Total prospects
  • New prospects
  • New referrals
  • Moves
  • Ask pipeline (donors) by stage
  • Ask pipeline (dollars) by stage
  • Status change
  • Gifts secured
  • Gifts declined
  • Ask/decline ratio
  • Pledges paid

Making the ask:

  • At least 18-24 moves to cultivate
  • Ask in person
  • Ask for a specific dollar amount
  • Tie it to a project (avoid undesignated asks)
  • Say thank you, even if the answer is “no”

Major gift fundraising

Jennifer Crothers

Jennifer Crothers

Jennifer Crothers was a graphic designer at Bloomerang
By |2017-06-10T19:03:11-04:00March 23rd, 2015|Major Gifts|


  1. […] Major gifts and major gift donors are defined in various ways. Suffice to say, they are the backbone of any major campaign and of virtually all giving for every nonprofit relying mostly on fundraising funds to sustain their budget and mission. This is especially true when you consider that 12% of donors provide 88% of all dollars given. […]

  2. […] [INFOGRAPHIC] Major Gift Fundraising By The Numbers. This is a truly excellent primer to major gift fundraising from Bloomerang, designed by Jennifer […]

  3. […] I hope this one isn’t controversial for you. 80% of the money in the U.S., according to Giving USA, comes from individuals. And of these donors, 12% account for the lion’s share of the money raised – 88%! […]

  4. Sheila Ferguson April 17, 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Good info! Thanks

  5. […] 80 to 90 percent of an average nonprofit’s annual fundraising. Of all U.S. donors, 12 percent account for the lion’s share of the money raised—88 percent! So embracing major-gift fundraising […]

  6. […] Did you know that of all U.S. donors, 12 percent account for the lion’s share of the money raised—88 percent! […]

  7. […] Major individual gifts account for the lion’s share of philanthropy, with 88% of dollars raised coming from 12% of donors. The number one reason people don’t give is […]

  8. […] Did you know that roughly 12% of donors in the U.S. account for nearly 88 percent of the annual fundraising by non-profits? It may sound like a pipe dream that you’ll find a major donor for your non-profit, but they are certainly out there. Do you have someone committed to hunting down one of these major donors? Do you have a strategy to find and retain them? This could be an answer to year-to-year budgetary concerns, so you need to make that effort. […]

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