Major Donor Fundraising: What you need to know

Raising the money to set up and sustain your voluntary group can be challenging, but there are many income streams you could consider; one of which is major donor fundraising.

Here, our Funding Manager, Lorraine, covers some of the basics that every budding major donor fundraiser needs to know.

There is no ‘catch all’ definition of a major donor. This is because the term will mean different things to different groups, especially in terms of monetary value. If a donor gives or has the potential to give a donation that will make a significant difference to your work or the operation of your organisation, they should be considered a major donor. All donors of any value should be considered special, but in many cases a ‘major donor’ should have their own tailored donor journey, which will help you to fully engage them as a supporter

Our top tips for getting major donors on board:

  • Regularly reach out to your trustees/directors, staff and volunteers to identify any links with individuals who may have the means and interest to support your work.
  • Ensure you have a good donor and supporter journey that engages with all people involved with your organisation, including communicating your impact, thanking for support and      opportunities to engage with your work - these individuals may increase their support in the future.
  • Pay attention to your group’s profile - including digital knowhow, such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media reach, website use, local publicity and events.

Our top tips for effective major donor journeys:

  •  Always acknowledge and say ‘thank you’ for donations in a timely manner, using methods that suit the donor - for example a phone call, letter or email.
  •  Treat donors like active participants in your cause - use language such as ‘we’ and ‘partnership’ and show what can be achieved with their support.
  •  Create opportunities for donors to truly understand and engage with your work - this could include open days, taster experiences or engaging updates.
  •  Carefully consider your ‘ask’ to each individual, and opportunities to increase or develop this.

If you are generating income through a major donor, we would love to hear about your experience and any tips, tricks and success stories you would like to share. Email

About the author:

Lorraine is an experienced fundraiser and has held strategic roles with local, national, and international organisations. She is passionate about supporting groups to diversify their income and become more sustainable.

If you would like to speak to Lorraine and the Funding Team about how you could diversify the income of your organisation, please get in touch via our contact form.