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Developing major donors: How the right software can help

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[Publisher’s note: This article was provided by Metafile Information Systems, a maker of donor management software. Metafile Information Systems is a PJ business partner.]
Helping donors recognize their potential is the cornerstone of effective fundraising. This is especially true for major donors. Major donor development requires a combination of collecting the right information, devising a strategy, formulating a plan, being adaptable, and engaging the support of others. Best practices for developing major donor relationships include:
  • Rating your prospects by past performance and recording the projected ask amount.
  • Learning as much as possible about the donors. What are their interests? Why did they become involved with your organization? Do they have connections with others who support your mission?
  • Getting others involved. Building strong relationships can sometimes “take a village,” with villagers coming from within and outside of your organization. Make a point of identifying people who can further your cause and note the nature of the relationship. Then, ask these “cultivators” for help.
  • Assigning a project manager. This is usually a staff account manager who oversees cultivation of the prospect and makes sure that nothing “falls through the cracks”.
  • Planning ahead – and planning to make adjustments. While it’s important to have a process in place, things may not always happen exactly the way you think they will. Be prepared to change or shift your game plan.

Donor management software:

  • Allows you to identify prospects based on past performance and projected giving amount.
  • Makes it easy to record a great deal of information about prospects in an organized fashion.
  • Allows you to track relationships between constituents, particularly those who can play a special role.
  • Allows you to assign account managers to prospects of particular interest; then supports your account managers with reports and reminders.
  • Is flexible enough to handle changes to strategy, cultivators, and planned activities.
  • Allows you to define the process based on your mission and your constituents.

Developing solid relationships with major donors has never been more important. The right software can make a real difference.


Metafile Information Systems has been in the donor management software business for 30 years. Read more about this topic.

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