By Thomas Sonni
Founder and President of Greater Mission

One of the most exciting opportunities in the life of a development director is soliciting major gifts from those who have major capacity. Major gift opportunities can present themselves in a campaign, an annual appeal, a legacy initiative, or a special project initiative. What constitutes a major gift can vary widely depending on our goals, always making a major impact on our success.

Here are three reasons to get excited about major gifts:

  1. Many of us who do the work of raising funds are not personally wealthy enough to make a major gift ourselves. But through our efforts, we get to bring about transformational impact in the lives of people by inspiring major gifts from others who are blessed with that capacity. And we get to multiply that outcome over and over again with each new donor that we successfully invite to give a major gift in line with their true philanthropic potential.
  2. People who are the best candidates to make major gifts are often quite extraordinary in what they have achieved, how they live, and the heart that they have to bless others by their generosity. Sometimes they even exceed our expectations in their generosity and then humbly say, I wish I could do even more and I will try to in the future. It is an honor and privilege to become friends with people who inspire us by their great generosity.
  3. We get to try every day to out-love our donors, blessing them even more than they bless those served by our organizations. This begins with genuinely caring about them, regardless of their response to our request at any given moment. This is how we genuinely move from a transactional mindset to a relational paradigm. We are in the people business. Because people are imperfect, we learn to love them even when they aren’t at their best. That patience may be exactly how we help lift them to their potential to make a major gift when the time is right. Learning to out-love our major donors is how we win major gifts.

Our major gift efforts do not lessen the importance of inspiring great generosity from people who have much more modest means. Jesus observed how the widow gave the most because she gave all that she had. Rather, they challenge us even more to inspire major gifts from those who have the capacity to further our mission in the greatest of ways.