They’re nonprofit investors—individuals, foundations, government agencies, and corporations, who surprise you by reaching out to make significant investments. These investors vet you without your knowledge.
“a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.”
· Are 10x what you’d consider a major gift
· Come from a donor or funder with whom you have little or no relationship
· Require less labor to close than typical donations
They seek nonprofit investment opportunities to fit their criteria and needs—for example, a donor desires to make an informed gift to create change. Or a foundation aims to invest in quality work, and you fit their criteria. Or a government agency with a spending deadline. You’ve done good work in the past with them, and they picked because they don’t want to lose the money.
A nonprofit’s mission is a starting point. However, since investors can almost always find a handful of entities to invest in, something or things are at play. Your work and reputation attract them.
You may never know if you’re attracting them or turning them off. You get the call, or you don’t. It’s hard to discover if something easy would have made you the one.
However, research shows that patterns exist that nonprofits who don’t get these gifts can replicate to improve opportunities.
We know that lots of nonprofit supporters conduct research. The statistics are unclear about how many—one source said less than 3 percent, a second claimed 33. Given that we look up everything, it’s logical your potential supporters of all gift sizes check you out before spending.
No. Instead, flip your fundraising on its head–instead of just seeking revenue, consider how you attract it 24-7. Because it is so fundamentally different from development and advancement, this is work best done by the exec team –at least to start.
Windfall and unsolicited major gifts and grants are just luck, right? That’s what the sector believes. To get them, you must have the correct mission and stand in the right place at the right time.
A combination totally out of a nonprofit’s control, right?
Data reveals that our story about these gifts was just that- a story. (For more about the data.) Funded nonprofits share many characteristics. They stem from the correct mission and actions that standout nonprofits do—some are easy, others complex and nuanced.
In either case, that’s good news for nonprofit execs. Sporadic unsolicited major gifts and even windfalls brighten the way and bolster—sometimes in a big way—nonprofit work.
Or follow this link to discover more about unsolicited major gifts.
Have you received an unsolicited major gift or windfall? Please share your experience with Karen.
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Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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