Raising an organization’s largest gifts—and making sure those gifts are as large as they can and need to be—requires an especially intense focus and discipline that must be understood, embraced, and sustained by leadership across an organization.
While 95 to 96 percent of fundraising revenue typically comes from 2 to 3 percent of donors, the top ten donors alone—representing only a fraction of 1 percent of the donor base—typically give more than 40 percent of the total raised, sometimes as much as 80 percent. Success in securing the largest possible gifts—in and out of campaigns—comes as the result of a sustained and sophisticated principal gift effort focused on a small number of potential donors. This effort varies from standard major gift fundraising efforts in each stage of the fundraising process.

Our primary objective is to help you significantly increase the total amount of your top ten gifts, whether you seek to raise principal gifts of $5 million or more, or your large gifts are six figures. In doing so, we expect you also will strengthen your culture of philanthropy, improve confidence levels, and inspire ambitious planning throughout your organization, thus achieving growth in fundraising results at all levels.

Aspen Leadership Group focuses its leader-to-leader philanthropic culture consulting on three areas:

All three require organization-wide commitment to changes in established behaviors and approaches. All three present opportunities for transformational rather than simply incremental growth in engagement and fundraising. And they are interdependent: success in any one of these areas supports and is enhanced by success in the others.

Our Approach: Moving leaders through Awareness to Assessment to Aspiration and Action.
SHAPING YOUR PHILANTHROPIC CULTURE GRAPHIC horizontal
Awareness:

On-site workshop or workshops for the advancement team, advancement leaders, academic/programmatic leaders, administrative leaders, and/or board members, coupled with one-on-one or small-group meetings with key leaders and decision makers.

Outcomes: Shared knowledge and understanding of the national landscape, relevant research, and implications for effective engagement and fundraising work, together with shared commitment to change and growth.

Assessment:

On-site, video, and phone consultation, to discover and explore organizational strengths; values; false assumptions and unconscious behaviors that impede progress; gaps; potential; and readiness for change and growth.

Outcomes: A written report addressing strengths, opportunities, and recommended behavioral adaptations and resource allocation, customized to your team and organization.

Aspiration and Action:

On-site, video, phone consultation, and workshops, to develop and implement aspirational, intentional, and measurable plans for improvement.

Outcomes: A written plan followed by guided implementation.

We will work with you to develop and deliver customized awareness-building programs and assessments designed to establish and support a culture that embraces philanthropic partnership and allows you to raise the largest possible gifts. 
 
Awareness-building activities include workshops for your boards, senior administrative and programmatic leaders, and advancement team members on trends in high-net worth philanthropy, the roles and responsibilities of all leaders in sustaining a healthy culture of philanthropic partnership, and elements of today’s most successful principal gifts programs. Awareness building typically involves one to two days on site, sometimes in a retreat framework, plus prep and follow up discussions.

 

Assessment of your organization’s capacity to raise your largest possible gifts on a sustained basis includes guided examination of multiple characteristics of the most successful principal gift programs and your organization’s performance against these ideal characteristics. Assessments typically involve several days of work both on and off-site.
Drawing on lessons learned through assessment, we will work with you to develop a specific and detailed aspirational action plan, designed to enable you and your colleagues to capitalize on your strengths and shore up areas of weakness, in six sections:
  • Culture of philanthropy
  • Identification of principal gift prospective donors
  • Establishment of principal gift fundraising objectives, including ideas that drive transformational giving
  • Allocation of resources, including assignment of responsibilities among staff members and organizational leaders
  • Engagement and stewardship
  • Ultimate gifts

We will work with you to establish or strengthen a principal gift steering committee and staff prepared to implement and sustain effective principal gift fundraising.

 

We will also provide ongoing consultation as you drive change and growth in the area of philanthropic partnership and principal gifts, through on-site, video, phone, and email interaction as required and desired.

 

Please contact Don Hasseltine, donhasseltine@aspenleadershipgroup.com, for more information and for a detailed, customized proposal.

Aspen Leadership Group consultants are seasoned advancement leaders with decades of experience leading billion-dollar campaigns and building cultures of philanthropy capable of deeply engaging supporters and securing principal gifts. Our consultants are best-selling authors and experts who have written the go-to handbooks trusted by leaders and professionals in philanthropy. View our full list of Published Books.

BookCover_Loehr_type3GENDER MATTERS: A GUIDE TO GROWING WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY (2018)

Kathleen Loehr
New research shows women are the drivers of their families’ philanthropic decisions. Women give more than men—and they give differently. Yet most institutions still use fundraising “best practices” that either alienate women or gain only minimal support from them. Loehr focuses on the specific individual, team and organizational adaptations necessary to increase philanthropic support from women.

 

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RAISING YOUR ORGANIZATION’S LARGEST GIFTS: A PRINCIPAL GIFTS HANDBOOK (2018)

Ron Schiller
Most organizations find that a very small number of donors provide the largest and most impactful gifts. While leaders must of course engage all donors, they should be intentional about allocating time and resources focused on that small group best positioned to provide transformative gifts. Schiller urges that every organization create a principal gift program focused on 40 potential individual and institutional donors.

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BELIEF AND CONFIDENCE: DONORS TALK ABOUT SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERSHIP (2015)

Ron Schiller
Nonprofit professionals rarely ask, and donors rarely discuss, how donors come to decisions about the few organizations with which they form their deepest philanthropic partnerships. Told in the words of “serial” major philanthropists, this book describes the factors that set donors’ most satisfying and transformational major giving experiences apart.

What Our Partners Are Saying

We came up from the grassroots starting with door knocking and cold calling. So we have been used to the hard grind of building something from scratch, including in recent years expanding our efforts across the country. With the support of Ron and the ALG team, we are now able to build on this history by approaching conversations with more confidence and with a long-term partnership building mindset. We are creating a cohesive sense of belief and confidence in our organization, its leaders and practices, and fostering greater connectivity between leading donors. And collectively our team is becoming more effective at closing more— and larger— gifts. Chris Street, Vice President for Development, All Stars Project
Aspen Leadership Group has facilitated discussions among members of our hospital board, foundation board, senior management team, and fundraising leadership team. The team has provided invaluable assistance in building shared understanding, consensus, and commitment to philanthropic partnership across our organization. They are excellent thought partners; we highly recommend ALG to leaders interested in creating strong and vibrant cultures of philanthropy.Jena Hausmann, CEO, Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation
Aspen Leadership Group was a breath of fresh air from start to finish. ALG united our Board of Trustees around our campaign as well as our cause. Our consultant's ability to problem-solve and relate to a variety of circumstances and opinions, coupled with a high emotional intelligence, allowed everyone to let their guard down. Going beyond strategic direction, ALG’s experience with the more subtle nuances and ways to finesse working with donors gave our Board the confidence and direction to raise funds. In the fundraising world, there is no substitute for experience. ALG has that experience, and it brought our whole team together.Chris Lane, CEO, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Build the Culture that Will Raise Your Largest Gifts

Take your engagement and fundraising to the next level. Align your team, stakeholders, and resources to maximize the number and size of your gifts. Connect with ALG's team of experts to get started.

Contact Don Hasseltine
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