Leaving Money on the Table

How to Get Started with Major Gift Fundraising from Individuals

3min read


By David Baker, JD, Principal, Giving Design Group, Inc.

Giving Design Group, Inc. is one of the few companies that provides comprehensive fundraising & development services for libraries. David Bake, the founder of the organization, shares some knowledge on how to get fundraising for public libraries started. Read what he has to say!

Year after year, about 80% of charitable giving comes from individuals. The most recent美国施惠数字告诉我们,每年捐赠72%来自个人和捐赠8%来自遗赠(以前生命个体的遗愿)接收。只有15%的年度捐款来自基金会和5%的企业。

If you’re focusing nearly all of your fundraising energies on grants, you’re leaving as much as 80% of your potential charitable support on the table. Make this the year you commit to cultivating and asking individuals to support the strategic initiatives of your library.

Here’s how you get started:



2. Leverage Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.

Raising money from individuals is easiest when you have other individuals from the community committed to the library, committed to supporting it financially themselves, and committed to asking their peers to join them in supporting the library. Ideally, your foundation or friends board will step up. If that’s not the case, you can always work with your board to recruit a development committee.

3. Create a List of Qualified Prospects.

The usual suspects that end up on every community fundraising list isn’t nearly as important as the right prospects. The first job for your foundation board or development committee is to create the right list. Your top individual prospects should satisfy each of the following criteria:

  • 能够给 -他们必须作出重大的礼物表现出来的能力。(这不是$ 100的礼物。这是关于$ 1,000,$ 10,000,$ 100,000和更多的礼物。)
  • 亲和力,你的任务或项目 -They have an interest or passion for the outcome associated with their gift, such as early childhood literacy, underserved/under-resourced communities, high school drop-out rates, workforce development, lifelong learning, or creative expression.
  • Access—您可以访问它们。在你的董事会或委员会有人能拿到预约。


Preparation is certainly key, but paralysis due to excessive preparation is not. Ideally, while creating your prospect list, you uncover the right project and the specific gift or gift range to ask each prospect.



Remember: Individuals who have given to a special project with great outcomes are the best prospects for an eventual estate or endowment gift.


This article was published in Gale’s Impact Spring/Summer 2016 issue,read more >>