A new report shares valuable insights that could transform your major gifts program.

In their latest report, KODA Capital (KODA) and CCS Fundraising (CCS) take a close look at major giving after a tumultuous two years in which we have weathered catastrophic natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

With their findings to hand, they share a framework and practical advice to help you build a stronger major gifts program that has the power to transform your organisation.  

Setting the scene 

Donors have responded generously to recent challenges in Australia, the report tells us, with more than $500 million committed in response to the 2019/20 bushfires and nearly $120 million donated in response to the COVID-19 crisis. But even prior to 2020, charitable giving was on the rise. Australian charities generated $166 billion in revenue in 2019, an increase of $10.5 billion on the previous year.  

It won’t be news to you that most of this benevolence comes from major gifts, with 90% of total fundraising driven by an organisation’s top 10% of donors.  

With this in mind, your fundraising team should undoubtedly be focusing resources and planning in a major gifts program.  

Here are insights and tactics from KODA and CCS on how to get started.  

The Four-Pillar Framework for Major Gift Strategy 

Value proposition – be very clear about why a major gift is needed, how your organisation will achieve its goals with the gift, and what the impact will be. This should all be wrapped up in your value proposition and include your organisation’s vision, priorities, impact stories, data supporting the request and a call to action.  

Prospective funders – identification, segmentation, prioritisation. These are the key steps to finding the right prospective funders for your organisation. Ask, what is their ability to give and their affinity to your mission, programs and leaders, and what is your access to the donor?  

Philanthropic champions – look both inward for key leaders as partners in fundraising (starting with your CEO), and outward to your board of directors and external volunteers who can champion your organisation’s mission and programs.  

Fundraising blueprint create an overarching plan with clear goals, timelines, budgets and KPIs for your major gift program.  

Current trends and what to do with them 

  1. Women are driving philanthropic giving decisions more than ever. Therefore, ensure that women are engaged as central philanthropic decision makers during your cultivation and solicitation process. Make sure that women are represented in your prospective donor portfolio and as an integrated part of the team of philanthropic champions engaging prospects.  
  2. You can’t ignore intergenerational wealth transfer – Australians are set to transfer an estimated $3.5 trillion over the next 20 years between generations, growing at 7% a year. So, invest in planned giving strategies.  
  3. ‘Big bet philanthropy’ is on the rise. These are eight-and-nine-figure gifts, made by the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals and foundations, aimed at solving or significantly alleviating a problem. Now is the time to be bold – show how your organisation is solving complex problems and on what scale.  
  4. Private ancillary funds (PAFs) continue to grow in popularity and value. They often have a narrow purpose, so ensure your value proposition is aligned with a clear mission and purpose – this clarity will mean you don’t waste their time or yours.  
  5. The global digital transformation powers on – so embrace new technologies to stay relevant and access data sets that help you to target prospective funders and set goals.  

Next steps  

The full KODA Capital and CSS Fundraising ‘Major Giving: Timeless Principles and Emerging Trends’ report expands further on the framework and trends outlined above.  

It also provides a comprehensive major gifts checklist that will help you implement your organisation’s four-pillar framework and adopt behaviours and activities that guide you through an effective major gifts program. 

To read the full report, with all of its invaluable expertise, click here.   

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