Hiding, Donors

Some of your donors who could give more to help you grow your ministry’s impact may be pulling a “King Saul”.

Remember the story? After Samuel had anointed Saul King of Israel, he couldn’t be found when it came time for his public coronation (1 Samuel 9:9-10:22).

The Lord revealed his whereabouts saying, “He has hidden himself among the baggage!” Pretty funny, especially when you consider the writer’s later comment, “As he [Saul] stood among the people, he was a head taller than any of the others.”

Some of your major donor prospects might be like Saul, hiding “among the suitcases”! Or, more precisely, among your regular or “mass” donors who make relatively small donations.

They may have given to you on an impulse. They may be giving small gifts to see how you treat them. Or, their passion for your ministry might not be ignited because they don’t understand your vision.

In our recent research Advocace asked Bible college, Gospel rescue mission and Christian radio station leaders if their ministries have a program to identify and solicit gifts from major donors.

Here’s what they said:

  • Bible colleges (39%)
  • Gospel rescue missions (61%)
  • Christian radio stations (64%)

Radio stations and rescue missions are doing a better job than Bible colleges. But all these ministry sectors can improve funding to make a greater impact through an increased emphasis on major donor cultivation.

Oh yes, and we asked Christian radio leaders how much time they spend cultivating relationships with their major donors. On average, they told us a little more than 10%! So, even ministries with Major Donor Programs often are not operating them with great success.

Finding Hidden Major Donor Prospects

How can you find those major donor prospects who might be hiding “among the suitcases”?

Step 1: Initiate a new or upgrade an existing major donor program.

Step 2: Decide what level of annual giving would qualify a donor to be one of your “majors.” Many ministries use the cumulative annual giving of $1,000/year during the previous three years.

Step 3: Conduct a giving capacity screening of your donor-base. Our research shows many ministries do not use this important tool.

Using external, public databases coupled with past giving to your ministry, giving capacity screening estimates a donor’s wealth and capacity to give within the next five years. (Advocace’s DonorCompassSM is one tool you can use.  Check it out >>)

Step 4: Seek guidance in how to build relationships with major donor prospects and solicit gifts from them. Advocace’s coaches can show you how to tackle this often-daunting task. (Check out our Major Gift Coaching >>)

Advocace’s consultants can help you increase funding to grow your ministry’s impact by guiding you in initiating or upgrading your major donor program. Schedule your Free Major Gift Coaching Call now >>