Leading Museums, Museum Leaders


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Mathew Ferguson and Gemma Peters, Charity fundraising: how do you ask for, and get, a million pounds? The Guardian, 17 June 2016

Raising multimillion-pound mega-gifts is probably the fastest way for a charity achieve a step change in its impact. Get it right and your organisation could be transformed through one act of philanthropy.

However, the tactics, strategies and timescales involved in attracting this size of donation are entirely different from other forms of fundraising. Donors who make gifts on this scale would typically have a net worth of at least £50m, and very often much more. Philanthropists at this level are rarely motivated by altruism alone and to persuade them that they should give to your organisation, fundraisers need to think of themselves as strategists who can help position their organisations to inspire donors’ enthusiasm.

Get them invested

Securing mega-gifts can easily take three years, and often longer. The fundraiser’s role is to choreograph a relationship over this period so that a donor’s involvement and commitment deepens throughout, with some carefully planned trigger points. It is critical at each stage that the donor’s time is being used effectively – no invitations to drinks receptions with warm Pinot Grigio and limp canapés please – this is about meaningful work. The goal of each meeting should be to secure the next, and so donors must get something from each meeting. Listening and possessing high levels of emotional intelligence are key ingredients for figuring out what will secure the next meeting and moving the relationship forward.

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