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Research

How Small Shops Can Maximize Major Gifts Work

How Small Shops Can Maximize Major Gifts Work

Small health care fundraising teams (small shops) share an ambition to focus on major gifts fundraising as their primary source of revenue. However, small shops face structural obstacles to investing more time in one-on-one donor interactions.

Despite these hurdles, small shops can make space in their workflows for major gifts. A strategic commitment to major gifts fundraising, especially relative to investment in special events, should focus on building the right combination of operational support, high-leverage executive involvement, and strategic planning to link major gifts to specific funding initiatives.

This report details five insights into how development leaders can achieve these goals and unlock the value of major gifts fundraising in a small shop setting.

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  1. Commit to major gifts over events. (p.7)
    Small shops must right-size their investment in events relative to events’ return potential. A focus on higher-return major gifts work can boost ROI, while a streamlined and purposeful slate of events can continue to generate important revenue.

  2. Hire back of office staff to expand frontline capabilities. (p.10)
    Most small shops already have frontline fundraisers who are not working at top of license, often the foundation president or similarly titled philanthropy executive. Investing in support staff frees these fundraisers to be as productive as possible, without having to tag in to complete operational tasks.

  3. Tighten strategic planning around major gifts. (p.12)
    Small shops have strategic plans, but they tend to lack specific major gifts activities to specific funding priorities—or they ignore activity metrics that are essential for assessing major gifts productivity.

  4. Overinvest in onboarding your CEO to fundraising. (p.14)
    The hospital or system CEO is a small shop’s first, best ally. Executive engagement is important for fundraising teams of any size, but small shops must leverage their CEOs’ outsized influence on their organizations and communities.

  5. Consolidate asks of loyal donors. (p.16)
    Small shops can also maximize time and resources by streamlining the asks that they make of loyal donors—both corporations and individuals.

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