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Major Gifts

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Structuring Major Gifts
Conference This program examines major giving in the context of current economic conditions, changes in donor populations, and increased competition for the charitable dollar and how these and other factors are irrevocably changing the ways donors structure their largest gifts of a lifetime.

How Do You Turn a Car Into a Chair?
CURRENTS Article An anonymous alumnus of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology auctioned off his 2015 McLaren P1—one of the world's fastest cars, which can reach speeds of 200 mph—for $2.39 million, a world-record for that model.

Major Gift Strategies: Fall Session
Conference Major Gift Strategies: Fall Session

Major Gift Strategies: Spring Session
Conference Major Gift Strategies: Spring Session

Outlook: Don't Discount Diverse Donors
CURRENTS Article If you assess the philanthropic landscape today, you'd be challenged to find Latinos in major staff roles, on nonprofit boards, or as major donors. As a Latino and development officer for 32 years, I've observed a range of reasons nonprofits overlook Latino communities. The main one: Because our communities have struggled with poverty and have indeed been recipients of charity, the assumption that we cannot give prevails. This is simply not true, and most people outside of Latino communities don't realize our propensity and capacity to give.

$10-Million-Plus Gifts to Higher Education Increased in 2016
Article,  BriefCASE Article The number of mega gifts to higher education institutions in the United States has grown by more than 11 percent, according to a special report.

Practicing Inclusive Fundraising
Article,  BriefCASE Article Major gifts officers should consider their outreach and donor pools with diversity in mind, according to one fundraiser expert and CASE faculty member.

Pin of Pride
CURRENTS Article How can you tell if a major gift officer secured a gift for an endowed professorship or chair? At the University of Florida, you just check his or her lapel. At special ceremonies near the end of the last campaign, the development chief and deans gave unique Gator pins to those who closed such gifts. The incentive program ran during the last two years of Florida's recent $1.5 billion campaign to help focus gift officers on securing endowed professorships and chairs.

Conference for Community College Grant Professionals: Navigating the Future
Conference Conference for Community College Grant Professionals: Navigating the Future

Preconference Workshop Community College Grant Professionals: Navigating the Future
Conference Preconference Workshop for Community College Grant Professionals: Navigating the Future

Show Return on Investment of Major Gift Fundraising
Article,  Community College News Article By refocusing her fundraising efforts on major gifts, a community college foundation director helped solicit the largest gift in the history of her institution and helped it quickly surpass the goal of its latest campaign.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
CURRENTS Article Frontline fundraisers tend to work in silos, and we leave a lot of gift money on the table. Let's banish planned giving from our vocabulary and embrace gift planning.

Validating Volunteers
CURRENTS Article Remote alumni chapters can easily fizzle if volunteer leaders lack support or direction. At the Penn State Alumni Association, a recent $1 million endowed gift ensures that won't happen.

A Creative Assist
CURRENTS Article When working with donors, it's important to connect with the heart and the mind.

Twists and TurnsToward a Gift
CURRENTS Article Alumnus Michael Lang wanted to give to an overlooked area that fit his passion.

Stewardship and the Second Gift
CURRENTS Article Barbara Samper would drive through Salinas Valley and see migrant workers in the field and think, "How can I help their children obtain a college education?"

A Friend to the End
CURRENTS Article In 2014, Foxcroft, an all-girls boarding/day school serving 157 students in grades 9-12, received a transformative gift of $40 million from Ruth Bedford, class of 1932.

How I Closed the Biggest Gift of My Career
CURRENTS Article Five fundraisers share the dramatic inside stories of large gifts along with key insights from their experiences, from being creative to collaborating with colleagues.

Pass or Fail?
CURRENTS Article In response to a negative Facebook post, Jessica White, a 2007 U of M grad who serves on the Dean's Young Alumni Council, writes a blog post explaining that all alumni gifts matter.

Garnering Large Gifts Takes a Commitment
Article,  Community College News Article Community college advancement practitioners should spend less time on low-return efforts like golf tournaments and more time on developing a high-yielding major gifts program, says a fundraising leader.

Adopt a Donor-Centered Approach to Leadership
Article,  Community College News Article Community college fundraisers shouldn’t shy away from cultivating major gifts, says a keynote speaker at the upcoming CASE Conference for Community College Advancement.

Five Traits that Attract Millionaires
CURRENTS Article A recent analysis of institutions that publicly announced receiving million-dollar gifts between 2000 and 2012 found that mega-donors are drawn to institutions with five traits.

Start Major Gift Fundraising
Article,  Community College News Article Community college fundraisers thinking about launching a major giving effort should first establish a robust annual giving campaign, say a pair of foundation directors.

New Report Identifies Factors that Attract Largest Gifts
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recently released report reveals that the length of a university president’s time in office and its board’s leadership in giving are among the factors that help colleges and universities attract more and larger million-dollar-plus gifts.

Foundation, Major Gift Experts Promote Collaborative Partnerships
Article,  BriefCASE Article Institution-wide fundraising goals, supportive leadership and department-wide working groups can all contribute to more effective development departments—but it takes proactive collaboration efforts. That’s according to foundation and major gift professionals who spoke on building partnerships during the recent CASE Annual Conference for Corporate and Foundation Relations Officers.

Major Gift Strategies in a Changing Philanthropic Landscape
Podcast Hear Debra Pemstein from Bard College discuss some of the cultivation strategies her institution uses to help ensure that its donors remain engaged and active. Also, listen to what Pemstein says her major gift donors expect from the institution that they never did before the recent economic downturn.

Odds and Ends: The Giving Kind
CURRENTS Article Devoted philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge talk to CURRENTS about the importance of writing small checks and the challenge of giving large gifts in a public manner, offer advice on how to become informed and engaged philanthropists, discuss possible changes to the U.S. charitable giving deduction, and reminisce about some of the projects they've helped make possible.

Anyone Can Star in Major Gift Giving
Article,  BriefCASE Article Everyone at an institution—from landscapers to presidents—has a part to play in major gift giving, says fundraising expert and CASE Online Speaker Series presenter Karen Osborne.

Onward and Upward
CURRENTS Article The vice president of development of the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts reports on new efforts at his institution and others to cultivate more gifts from midlevel donors as leadership gifts have become more scarce during the recession.

Treasure Chase
CURRENTS Article Advancement leaders from around the country and the world acknowledge the downturn in mega gifts to education during the Great Recession and discuss the best strategies for dealing with the new economy.

Gifts of Significance
James M. Hodge for the School of Philanthropy at Indiana University
Article This article, pre-course reading for the School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, discusses major gift fundraising and the solicitation process.

Reaching for the Top
CURRENTS Article Author Elizabeth Harvey, a major gift officer at Mills College, surveys eight small and medium-sized colleges and universities to discover how the institutions are scaling the very top of their giving pyramids.

Cinderella Doesn't Live Here
CURRENTS Article The annual fund is the most obvious place to go looking to develop your major gifts, but it is also the most overlooked. Here are concrete strategies for building your pipeline.

Principal, Major, and Special Giving Programs: University of California, Irvine - Bronze Medal
Best Practice The University of California, Irvine created a new Office of Principal Gifts to better serve UCI’s key constituents and to successfully enhance its fundraising results by raising funds for the university’s priority projects. The office manages all prospects of $5 million or more. As a result of the new office, UCI raised a record $101 million in FY 2005-06 and was well on the way to a record $125 million in FY 2006-07.

The DNA of a Successful Major Gift Team
CURRENTS Article Teamwork is essential in a major gift office. Camaraderie and congenialty are important. But first you have to build the appropriate infrastructure—the culture, communications, expectations, feedback, technology, and learning. Then success becomes part of your genetic code.

The Pluto Principles
CURRENTS Article The quest for the planet Pluto teaches the need for persistence, research, strategic planning, and thinking out of the box--and why it's smart to sweat the small stuff. Astronomers discovered Pluto's existence by noticing wobbles in nearby planets. So if something in your development programs appears a bit off, it bears looking into. The discovery will be donors who want to make larger and more meaningful gifts.

All Hands on Deck
CURRENTS Article Turnover can create havoc in an advancement office, leading to holes in the institutional memory and breaking fragile links between donors and the institution. The advancement staff at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has reinvented its operations to create a team approach that strengthens long-term relationships and focuses staff members on securing cash gifts, especially major gifts. Using a structure of four interdisciplinary teams, advancement officers focus on offering relevant alumni programs and services, meeting face-to-face with donors, involving all staff members in gift cultivation, and maintaining an attitude of mutual respect across advancement.

Vision Quest
CURRENTS Article What motivates major donors to give? This article goes straight to the source - the donors themselves. Nine benefactors of education institutions of all types talk about why they give, what they hope to achieve with their giving, what they expect from the institutions they support, and what they expect from the campus development officers who cultivate them. Philanthropists are still interested in supporting education, they say, provided the institutions’ needs are real.

AdvanceWork: Sitting Pretty
CURRENTS Article Affluent individuals require a minimum of $1 million to $10 million in assets to feel financially secure, according to the "Wealth & Values Survey 2003" conducted by Community Foundations of America and HNW. Major gifts officers must therefore work even harder to convince these prospects that they can afford to support charitable causes.

Goals and Assists
CURRENTS Article Prospect researchers and development officers must form a partnership to identify potential donors' ability, interest, and desire to give. This article provides three guidelines for building a productive relationship and includes a table showing the differences in the information that researchers and development officers are likely to uncover. This article is of interest to development officers and prospect researchers.

Respecting the Collections
CURRENTS Article Development officers must work closely with special collections librarians to solicit appropriate gifts of rare books, manuscripts, photos, and artifacts. Getting the right gifts means understanding the library’s niche, the additional concerns that come with gifts-in-kind, and why librarians chafe at having to do special exhibits for cultivation and recognition. This article is of interest to major gift officers, fund raisers for libraries and special collections, and advancement service professionals who deal with gift acceptance.

Closing Remarks: Mad Money
CURRENTS Article In this humorous parody of a fund-raising call report, a fictional development officer misses cue after cue from a top donor prospect. This Closing Remarks column is of interest to fund raisers and advancement services professionals who work on donor relations, cultivation, and call reports.

Making Peace between Annual and Major Gifts
CURRENTS Article The difference between annual and major gifts lies more in their purpose and their relationship to the donor’s capacity than in their actual dollar amount. To ensure that the annual and major gift programs work together successfully, development leaders must articulate clear donor strategies, use the annual fund to feed the major donor program, and promote the “dual ask”--the practice of asking major donors for continuing annual fund gifts.

Values, Vision, "Embodied Opportunities"
CURRENTS Article A principal gifts officer defines six elements to attracting principal gifts. Institutions must define their core values, identify campus priorities that go beyond parochial interests, and let potential donors know the stories behind these priorities. Such stories must resonate with the prospect's own core values. Development officers also must reach out to the prospect's intimate family and friends.

Shifting Gears
CURRENTS Article Cornell University development officers successfully shifted to a project- and team-based approach to fund raising, leaving behind the previous organizational model based around schools and units. This new approach has allowed the university to raise funds for priority projects without launching an institution-wide campaign. As an example, the authors describe the successful team-based effort to fund renovation and expansion of Cornell’s music building.

A Steady Ascent
CURRENTS Article Rather than follow the up-and-down cycle of campaign after campaign, fund raisers may want to consider a new approach: an ongoing major gifts effort. The author describes what he sees as the flaws of campaign-based advancement, and suggests that institutions develop continual, mission-based fund-raising programs.

Making the Ask
CURRENTS Article The authors provide faculty members with a detailed description of the steps involved in asking a donor for a major gift. They also explain common fund-raising errors and how to avoid them.

AdvanceWork: Measuring Generosity
CURRENTS Article Worth and Slate magazines print annual lists of leading American philanthropists.

Gift Officer Metrics

The Library has compiled a collection of resources about gift officer metrics.

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SampleCollection_GiftOfficerMetrics

The Library maintains a collection of gift officer metrics & reporting samples.

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Fundraising Community

Connect with CASE members working in fundraising on CASE Communities.

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