Category: Major Gifts

Have You Received Charitable Donations From Russian Oligarchs

Have You Received Charitable Donations From Russian Oligarchs?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Over the past two decades, hundreds of U.S. nonprofits have received massive philanthropic support from Russia’s superwealthy, often celebrated with named scholarships and buildings. Yet within the nonprofit sector, there is little conversation about this. In light of the horrific war that has been unleashed on Ukraine, do you wish to continue to steward and receive their support? Today we ask, “What are your policies and procedures for receiving Russian megagifts — and megagifts overall?” I hope that this blog, and the research we’re sharing, will foster a discussion within your nonprofit that will help

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Discomfort in Fundraising

Three Steps to Manage Uncomfortableness in Fundraising

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA We try our utmost to avoid it, but feeling uncomfortable is key to fundraising mastery. In fact, the more advanced fundraising you seek, the more uncomfortable feelings rise. Yet it is an enormous (and lucrative) gift to yourself, and especially to your nonprofit, to work through these initial feelings. Aversion for being uncomfortable is understandable. Uncomfortable situations trigger feelings of being out of control. Anxiety and fear storm through us and our bodies get tense. Being uncomfortable goes against our innate desire to feel calm and at peace. Many fundraisers call me when they are

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Site Visits in the Zoom Age

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA & Sheldon Bart  In what we might call the BC era (Before COVID), site visits mainly entailed a tour of your nonprofit’s facility. You took the foundation program officer or the major donor on a walk around the program site to give them a good look at your day-to-day operations. They were happy to see in action the services described in words in your proposal or application. The tour consumed most of the time available for the visit, with a few minutes left over for questions. Now, after the disease disrupted our routines (or AD),

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Moving the Needle

Beyond Major Gifts: Transformational Donors

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA To quickly understand the difference between a major donor and a transformational donor, here are three examples of very different donors, all of whom at one time were LAPA clients: first, a mega wealthy donor; second, a thoughtful philanthropist who made good use of his family fortune; and third, a widow who leveraged her own gift and invited her family and friends to join her. Michael Bloomberg gave a historic $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) entirely for financial aid, allowing JHU to begin accepting students without regard to their ability to pay.

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Gift Charts

Gift Charts Are Fundamental

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” applies to gift charts. A gift chart shows giving levels from low to high and informs fundraisers on how many donors they need at each level of giving to reach the fundraising goal. As such, gift charts are central to careful development planning. They are also useful for all sizes of nonprofits — not just large campaigns or large organizations. Taking a short amount of time to make, a gift chart will deepen your ability to manage your time and staff resources to focus

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How Much Time Should It Take To Close a Major Gift?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA How much time should it take to close a major gift? The short answer is less time than you think.   You see, I have observed that fundraisers spend far too long cultivating donors. Cultivation can even mask procrastinating over making the ask!   I hear this from fundraisers quite frequently: “I don’t feel like it’s the right time to ask this person for support. I am scared they will say ‘no,’ and then what will I do?  So, I keep ‘cultivating’ them.”  Such delays lead to protracted cultivation and solicitation period and likely a missed opportunity—or clarity

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5 Ways to Get More Donor Meetings

5 Ways to Get More Donor Meetings

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Is getting a meeting with a donor more difficult for you than securing the gift? If so, that’s my experience too. The fact is that, if you get the meeting, your chances of securing the gift are relatively certain. Why is it so Difficult? There are many answers to this question. We’ve become more dependent on technology and because of it, our donor relationships are more distant. It’s easier to zoom in for a video call than to leave your office and meet in person. Another reason is that the increase in income disparity has left

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5 Ways to Get Repeat Gifts

5 Ways to Get Repeat Gifts

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA When you ask a donor to renew his or her support, you’re offering a unique opportunity to make something significant happen in the world, something they deeply want, but cannot affect by themselves. You (the fundraiser) have to be clear about that opportunity and what would happen if it did not exist. This is what engages donors. A unique feature of really engaged donors is their desire to build the future with you. For this reason, fundraisers almost always ask donors to give their support over three or five years. Truly transformative gifts are often made as

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