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Are you ready to solicit major gifts effectively?

Posted July 15, 2022 by Virginia Davidson

solicit major gifts

Is your nonprofit organization ready to solicit major gifts? Whatever its scale, your organization probably already has the support of some major donors. The term “major donor” is relative, so whether a major donor is someone who gives $250 or $25,000, it’s important that you’re able to identify those donors and steward your organization’s relationship with them. Doing so requires a fundraiser’s time and effort.

It’s also necessary to have systems in place to manage and utilize essential data as you solicit major gifts. As Erik Hanberg asserts in The Little Book of Gold, “a true donor database will let you target mailings by gift amount, or date of their last gift, or any number of helpful parameters.” Without that tool, an organization will find it hard (or even impossible) to cultivate and steward major donors.

What systems are essential to solicit major gifts?

Your organization will consistently need a way to:

  • See donors’ past giving history
  • Know how many donors typically give at certain levels, so you can gauge your next ask amount
  • Record solicitations and personal interactions with donors and prospective donors
  • Report on your fundraising efforts

These systems are important because:

  • They allow you to communicate meaningfully with constituents who’ve expressed interest in your organization
  • They provide you with vital data you can use to target your solicitations
  • They give you insight into how to effectively cultivate and steward donors
  • They serve the organization well in the long run so that important knowledge about donors doesn’t disappear when an employee retires or leaves

Are you prepared to solicit major gifts?

  • Do you know how many donors make gifts at certain levels? For example, do you know how many donors donate $250 or more to your organization annually?
  • If not, why?
  • Do you have a way to document communications and personal interactions with donors?

Cultivating them takes time, but long-term major donors will be a significant asset to your organization’s mission. To help you prepare to solicit major gifts and steward major donors effectively, we’re making available two valuable resources that will guide you through the process. And, for users of Little Green Light, these resources will give you specific, actionable tips to help you get the most out of LGL.

The first resource is Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold. Forbes rated it a Top 12 Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Employees, and it’s packed with practical, real-world fundraising wisdom that really resonates with us.

The second is LGL’s Companion Guide to The Little Book of Gold. Each chapter of Erik’s book covers an essential aspect of fundraising, and in LGL’s companion guide we’ve written corresponding chapters that show you how you can use Little Green Light to implement Erik’s advice.

How to access The Little Book of Gold and LGL’s Companion Guide

For Little Green Light customers:

Little Green Light customers can download their FREE digital copy of Erik’s book, The Little Book of Gold, and LGL’s Companion Guide right from within their LGL account. Simply visit your Help page and click the blue “Get free copy” button at the top right of the page.

For Non-LGL customers:

Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold is available at Amazon, the author’s website, and wherever books are sold. LGL’s Companion Guide is available as a free download at


If you’re ready to devote attention to major gifts, you should especially check out chapter five of Erik’s book. In this chapter, he explores the use of a donor pyramid and explains that “your two fundraising goals should be getting new donors into the base of the pyramid and moving current donors up to the next level.” And, for LGL users, chapter five of our companion guide will show you how to use LGL’s functionality to implement Erik’s advice.

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