JGA Blog

Maximizing Major Gift Fundraising

February 27, 2017

Did you know development programs that rely solely on transactional giving, like direct mail and special events, generally have a return of investment (ROI) of about 200 percent, while programs that are relationship-based and major gift focused can enjoy a much higher ROI of 500 percent or more?

That’s why it’s so important to have a diversified development program with a strong and systemized major and planned gifts component. Now is a good time to evaluate your major gift practices to make certain that you are being as effective as possible when you, your volunteers, development staff, and CEO are cultivating major gift prospects.

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Donor Data: 4 Strategies to Maximize Your Fundraising

January 17, 2017


Data-driven fundraising is a vital tool that can help you maximize your development efforts. JGA asked Bill Tedesco with DonorSearch to share tips on using insights from your donor data to help you reach your donors effectively and efficiently.

Using your donor data is especially important for building relationships with major donor prospects. Don’t waste resources sending appeals that donors won’t respond to. Instead, use these 4 strategies to maximize your fundraising with donor data:

1. Identify major donors.

2. Establish your appeal strategies.

3. Send effective appeals.

4. Create your stewardship plan.


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3 Philanthropic Trends Driving Fundraising in 2017

January 12, 2017

We are off and running into 2017!  After a fall that was focused on the US Presidential election, the 2016 year-end season of giving seemed like a wonderful opportunity to focus on helping others, thanking donors for their generosity, and looking ahead to 2017.

As I look ahead, I believe that these are the 3 philanthropic trends that will underpin our fundraising landscape in 2017:

  1. Advocacy – As our nonprofits work with their newly elected officials, a focus on advocacy will emerge as more important than ever.  How do we communicate the role of advocacy to our donors and ask them to invest in advocacy? The Council of Nonprofits outlines the need for heightened advocacy and the
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Shifting Patterns in Giving Show Importance of Women Donors

December 12, 2016

Are young donors today as generous as previous generations?

For young, single women, the answer is yes. Single men and married couples, however appear to be lagging behind their counterparts from 40 years ago.

These results come from the Women Give 2016 report, which sought to identify how demographic changes over the last four decades have impacted giving and decision making by different groups of donors at the same points in their lives. To do this, the report examined giving by single men, single women, and married couples in the 1970s versus today. The researchers divided the groups into two demographic segments, pre-Boomers, age 25 – 47 in 1973, and Gen X/Millennials, ages 25 – 47 from 2000 to 2012, and compared results from the 1974 National Study of Philanthropy and the Philanthropy Panel Study from 2013.

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Year-End Giving and the Election's Impact on Fundraising

November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is upon us. Is it possible that 2017 is already on the horizon? As we all know, there are twelve months in the year but, when it comes to fundraising, those twelve months are not equal. Is your organization ready for year end? Have you considered the implications of the presidential election upon the financial and philanthropic planning decisions that might be considered by your top donors and their advisors between now and December 31st?

Year-end is prime time for charitable gifts from individuals

For most charitable organizations, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is by far the most significant in terms of gift transactions and gift revenue from individuals. Some organizations receive more than 40% of their annual gift revenue during this 5- or 6-week period. Many annual giving donors delay their charitable decision-making until the year-end period. For many

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Giving USA 2016: Fundraising Implications for Giving to Religion

November 10, 2016

According to Giving USA 2016, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 4.1 percent to $373.25 billion in 2015. This marks the highest total amount given in the 40 years Giving USA has tracked this data, both in current dollars and adjusted for inflation.

A few weeks ago we looked at the implications for higher education and healthcare organizations from the Giving USA data. This week we will focus in on the faith-based sector and look at the implications of this latest data on giving to religion.

 What this Means for Religious Organizations:

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High Net Worth Donors and Their Impact on Major Gift Fundraising

November 01, 2016


Major gift donors are crucial for the ongoing sustainability of your nonprofit’s mission. In fact, high net worth donors often provide as much as 94% of the funds for nonprofit campaign initiatives. So, it is important that we understand their giving patterns, preferences, and motivations.

The 2016 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy released this week is the sixth edition of the biennial study, researched by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and provides nonprofits with valuable insights on this important donor demographic. The report surveyed 1,435 U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their primary home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more.

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Fundraising Best Practice - The Magic of Vision as a Catalyst

October 20, 2016

My colleagues and I at JGA have had occasion over more than two decades now at hundreds of nonprofits to watch presidents and CEOs in action. The unique skill – and a fundraising best practice – that always captures our attention almost more than anything else is the way that some of them engage their entire institutions in a vision for “what can be.”

I’ve recently observed several leaders who have quietly displayed remarkable ability to do this.

To be sure, there are so many different and additional roles for a president as to be nearly impossible to write them all down. But when a president leads and causes everyone to think about and then, in many different ways, to become part of a shared vision for the future, it is magical.

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Giving USA 2016 and the Implications for Healthcare Fundraising

October 06, 2016

According to Giving USA 2016, total charitable giving in the United States grew by 4.1 percent to $373.25 billion in 2015. This marks the highest total amount given in the 40 years Giving USA has tracked this data, both in current dollars and adjusted for inflation.

A few weeks ago we looked at the implications for higher education from the Giving USA data. This week we will focus in on the health sector and look at the implications of this latest giving data for healthcare philanthropy.

The good news for health organizations is that the $29.81 billion dollars given to such causes in 2015 is the highest total that subsector has ever received in current dollars – slightly surpassing the previous high water mark from 2014 of $29.43 billion. In comparison to other subsectors of recipient organizations, however, health organizations are struggling to capitalize on the recovering economy and expanded charitable giving.

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Using Nonprofit Storytelling to Communicate Impact

September 29, 2016

In our work with nonprofit clients here at JGA, we frequently interview donors and volunteer leadership. One concern we often hear is that the charity needs to do a better job of telling its story so more donors will support this great organization that they have come to know and love. Storytelling can be a great place for nonprofits to start when it comes to demonstrating their impact in a way that puts a human face on the mission.

I recently spoke with Kim Jones, Vice President at Willow Marketing, about how organizations can employ storytelling in their nonprofit marketing and development efforts.

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