Maintaining healthy relationships with your Major Donors

Transformational Relationships build strong organizations.

Transformational Relationships build strong organizations.

Your major donors provide the bulk of support needed to run your organization.

Typically, they consist of 10% to 20% of your donor list and their gifts result in 70% – 80% of your income.

This is a group of people whom you want to pay special attention to.

In consultation with the leadership team and board of directors of any given organization, the fund development professional needs to develop customized strategies for its major donors.

These strategies may include one-to-one meetings, personal notes and opportunities to include major donors and their networks in the planning and building of your programs.

Following is a check list of items you should consider in regards to your relationships with your major donors:

  • The criteria you use to determine what qualifies someone as a major donor. (This list should be a manageable size for your organization)
  • A good understanding of who your major donors are. (This includes data, preferred solicitor and anecdotal information)
  • A clear one-to-one contact strategy throughout the year that goes beyond a transactional relationship and recognizes the transformational impact of each donor’s contributions of gifts, time and expertise.
  • A regular, customized Major Donor report based on the program(s) each major donor chooses to support and how their gifts directly impact these programs. It should include what the organization has learned, adjustments made, based on what has been learned, to programs and strategies moving forward.
  • A yearly Major Donor event.

As well as providing you with the significant gifts you need to run your organization, your major donors are a great resource in providing insights, expertise and valuable feedback.

What are some of the ways that your organization creates and maintains good and healthy working relationships with its major donors?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Tracy Lee Karner

    Smart. You are! (Sometimes I can’t help sounding like Yoda… even when I’m telling the truth.) We’re not technically a non-profit, but we maintain good relationships with customers through prompt response and accessibility.

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