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Major gifts: 4 tips for larger online donations

$1000 bill

Oftentimes, nonprofits receive the highest amount of donations by outright asking for them from individual donors. This is also true for major gifts, normally defined by small and mid-sized nonprofits as any donation over $1,000. The amount that is considered a major gift will increase with the organization size, meaning larger organizations may not consider gifts to be major unless they surpass $10,000 or even $50,000. But for smaller nonprofits, receiving even one major gift of $1,000 could significantly boost their annual fund.

Major gift fundraising tends to be more involved that normal fundraising. Offline, in-person meetings and donor cultivations are more likely to inspire major gifts but your website and online fundraising tools can play a major role. Try these suggestions for ways to grow the number of major gifts your nonprofit receives online.

1. Support the decision to give

Even if you are cultivating major donations offline in the form of in-person interaction, you should be using your website as support material and follow up material to show the impact of donations.

Keeping your website current will help establish trust with donors. A detailed “About us” section will help give validity to your organization and a clear “Impact” page will show visitors to your site- aka potential donors- what you are doing with the support you receive. Keeping your social channels updated will add to your credibility. For these online visitors, your nonprofit’s proven trustworthiness will encourage larger gifts and communicating your impact will help them understand how their donation will make a difference.

2. Encourage larger gifts online

In order to receive larger gifts online, you may need to outright ask for them. During your next major gift campaign, include larger suggested amounts on the donation page such as $1,000, $2,500 and even $5,000 to target larger donors as options on the donation page. Or, create an exclusive “club” or giving society for donors who give more than $1,000 each year that offers incentives for donors to join.

Whether the donor is convinced to give through offline conversations or your website, a special donation page for large donors is a convenient and easy way for the donor to fulfill the gift.

Girl Scouts NE TX
Example major gift donation page from Girl Scouts of NE Texas

3. Offer an alternative to one large gift

Another way to get to receive larger online gifts is to encourage monthly giving. A smaller monthly gift will add up to a major gift over time and is easy for some donors to budget. Here’s a few ways to do so:

  • Use your website to promote and encourage visitors to participate in your monthly giving programs. Create a banner about monthly giving and feature it on your organization’s home page so it’s one of the first thing visitors will see.
  • Promote monthly giving programs regularly on your social media channels and email newsletter.
  • Add a “give monthly” option to your site’s donation page.
  • Dedicate a page on your website solely to monthly giving. Use it to explain why your organization needs donors to commit to giving monthly, how the support will be used and the ways donors can sign up.

4. For a big gift offer a big thank you

A large donation deserves recognition from your organization, especially if it’s one given online rather than at an in-person meeting. Designate a staff or board member to call or email the major donor soon after you receive the gift. You can also set up an automatic email alert or even a text message that will alert your staff member about large gifts. A personal thank you card or phone call are especially nice since they take more time to craft than a simple email.

Read this post for other creative ways to thank donors after you receive gifts.

Next steps

Now that you have a few ideas of how to receive large donations, take the time to determine what constitute a major gift for your nonprofit. Again, this will depend upon your organization’s size and the size of the donations you regularly receive. Then, revaluate your online tools to support making giving online a streamlined and easy process for your major donors.

We’d be happy to help if you’re in need of some more tips for finding donors, creating a simple giving process or if you’re simply in need of some inspiration.

Image credit

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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