By Emily Rose Patz, Senior Copywriter at DonorPerfect


Major donors are the most valuable supporters of the nonprofit world. They build wings in museums, sponsor new research at hospitals, and provide large amounts of financial support for special projects. They find great satisfaction and pride in funding growth and expansion.

The key to achieving your nonprofit’s greatest goals? Follow these three steps to engage and nurture the high net worth donors who share your vision.

1) Invite major donors to be an integral part of the work they’re funding.

A wealthy constituent wants to know what their money will be going toward and what it can accomplish. They may even want to help guide you in how it’s spent. When you solicit a prospective supporter, you need to be prepared with data, compelling testimonials, personal knowledge of what motivates the donor as an individual, and a concrete plan of how their major gift will help you make major changes.

During your solicitation meeting, make sure you communicate:

  • How much money the project needs
  • The specifics of what their money would be funding
  • What you expect the end result to be

Be as transparent as possible about the path your donor’s funds are taking from contribution to action to impact.

  • Provide them with a resource that outlines your goals and plan to achieve them.
  • Offer volunteer opportunities to give them hands-on experience with your team.
  • Keep them apprised of key developments within your nonprofit.
  • Inform them about the real-life changes you are making with their support
  • Acknowledge their support in a way that encourages repeat donations and participation.

2) Don’t forget about the impact of donor-advised on fundraising.

Since the recent tax changes, donor-advised funds are increasingly becoming a go-to way to give because they offer a convenient way for donors to get a tax write-off now and donate later. There are more than 460,000 individual donor-advised fund accounts in the U.S. today, which is double the number from just five years ago. Collectively, they hold more than $110 billion, all of which is destined for charities. This very second, over $85 billion in donor-advised funds are currently available in more than 300,000 donor accounts. These funds are waiting for contributors to guide the way they’re spent by recommending recipients. So why wouldn’t you incorporate soliciting donor-advised funds into your fundraising strategy?

You can use your Donor Management System to keep track of grants from donor-advised funds along with the recommending donor with these helpful features:

Soft Credits for Charitable Sponsors 

You can link together the charitable sponsor (i.e; foundation, organization) and donor so everyone associated with the donor-advised fund grant can be properly acknowledged. When you enter the “hard credit” grant record for a donor-advised fund into the charitable sponsor’s record, you should also soft credit the donor who recommended the grant. That way, these gift records are linked together for easy reference, tracking, and reporting.

Tip: Include soft credits in your receipts and make a thank you letter template specifically for this type of supporter. You want to be sure you are also personally thanking those who have prompted each grant (preferably within 48 hours of receiving it), so they see that the grant was valuable to your nonprofit and are encouraged to seek out more even more funding.

Personalized Thank Yous

Instantly send personalized acknowledgements to big donors and charitable sponsors. With Mail Merge functionality, you can store templated letters for both charitable sponsors and donors, so you can access them from anywhere. Name, address, and donation information will auto-populate so you can acknowledge all of your donations, personally at the click of a button.

3) Regularly measure the results of high net worth donor engagement.

Your donor data is only valuable if you leverage it to see who is donating and why. Your CRM tool can help you effortlessly track the staff member who solicited the big donor as well as the target solicitation amount, actual ask amount, amount received, and the number of touchpoints with that donor.

By creating custom Major Donor reports, you’ll see what types of engagements you should invest in when it comes to this valuable group of donors. Reports can include:

  • Major Gifts Follow Up Report
  • Major Gifts Identification Report
  • Major Gifts Cultivation Report

Having this information available at a glance keeps everyone on your staff aware of the status of your organization’s relationships with wealthy constituents at any given time.

Major gifts are a major deal. That’s why it’s crucial to inform your Executive Director, Director of Development, and your board so they can reach out and personally thank large donors in a timely manner.


For more about cultivating your major donor relationships, download this free e-book from DonorPerfect: How to Discover and Engage Major Donors.

3 Ways to Manage & Grow Major Donor Relationships