Giving Compass' Take:

• I.G. Advisors talks about a recent event they held that provided guidance for major fundraising efforts. What is the best way to catch the biggest fish?

• This advice is useful for those on both ends of the divide (donors and grantees), and may help spark a healthy dialogue before the next fundraising event your organization is involved with. Communication is key!

• While big events are covered here, it may be useful to look at the effectiveness of crowd funding in the sector as well. This article on GoFundMe provides some insights.

On March 12, I.G. Advisors held a Major Gifts Surgery in partnership with the Hospital Club Foundation and we were thrilled to welcome so many people. The room was packed and it was amazing to see such lively discussions being had first thing on a Monday morning!

A challenge we regularly see at I.G. is there are more major gifts fundraising roles in this sector than there are major gifts fundraisers  —  and this holds fundraising, and therefore social impact, back. So, we hosted this Surgery as an opportunity to answer questions candidly, and provide insights to help the sector kick it up a notch.

6 key takeaways:

  • Decide what a major gift looks like to you. Every organisation is different, and "major" doesn’t have to mean "millionaire." Align your ask with what justifies investment, and what your networks can manage to give. Don’t neglect your mid-level prospects either as they often give major sums over time.
  • Donors are becoming more sophisticated and strategically minded. Form intellectual, as well as emotional connections. Treat donors as partners to build trust and weather storms like the Oxfam crisis and GDPR.
  • Major donors aren’t all white western men. Diversify! Don’t ignore women donors, or the growing wealth in the Global South.
  • Cultivate connectors. Build relationships with intermediaries such as lawyers and bankers who can provide access to new networks.
  • Think beyond cash. The next generation of philanthropists will be inheriting illiquid assets, such as stocks, bonds and property. Carefully consider how, and if, you could manage donations of this type.
  • Foundations are oversubscribed. Make sure to look for financial sustainability through other audiences, too.

Read the full article about major gifts fundraising tips by Amy Whight from I.G. Advisors, via