The Hymn of Major Gifts

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Published May 28, 2014

The Hymn of Major Gifts

This Is Important. Please Note. You’ve heard me preach about the importance of major gifts. It’s the Hymn I sing.

When the firm began, we found that 80% of the money raised in a successful Capital Campaign came from 20% of the donors. The 80-20 rule has stood the test of time. You still hear it referred to.

Well . . . it’s no longer true! About 8 or 9 years ago, we began noticing that it was becoming closer to 90% of the money came from 10% of the donors.

Today, it’s even more skewed. We’re finding that 95 to 96% of the money comes from 2 to 3% of the donors.

Case in Point, the University of Evansville just completed a very successful over-goal campaign. They raised $83 million from 12,809 donors.

Note this: $40,584,022 came from their top 13 donors— just half of what was raised came from only 13 donors. And 98.7% came from a little over 8% of their donors.

Here’s your strategy. You want to seek as broad a base as possible. This is how you build your support structure for the future. From this group will bubble-up your large gifts in the next campaign.

But keep a riveting focus on your major gifts. If you don’t, your campaign is flawed and doomed to failure.

Begin singing my Hymn with me!

I recently heard from John Locke at Mission Healthcare Foundation in Asheville, North Carolina. He wrote: “We just wrapped up a two-year, $15 million capital campaign for a new cancer center. We had over 400 gifts plus 1600 participants in our employee campaign. Our top 18 gifts amounted for almost $12 million of the $15 million raised.”

I told you so!



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