Pittsburgh Technical Council

3 Tech Strategies to Raise Money for Major Gifts

3 Tech Strategies to Raise Money for Major Gifts

Article Published: February 15, 2016

Groves _b _03_0By Blake Groves, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Salsa | Ignite Action. Fuel Change.

As the tech industry grows and prospers, those changes trickle into every other sector.

When it comes to nonprofit technology, there is no shortage of opportunity. For every nonprofit task, there’s a technologically-improved means of accomplishing it.

Looking to learn more about your donors? Research them using a prospect screening tool.

Wanting to send out a drip email stream and track responses? Utilize the communications functionality of your donor management system.

Logically, given that organizations use tech for a whole range of assistance, it only makes sense that technology should lend a hand to major giving.

To begin, use these three tech strategies to make the most of major giving.

Major gifts are the largest gifts an organization receives — the cream of the crop. Your fundraisers need every resource available to secure game-changing major gifts.

1. Use all that your donor database has to offer.

Having a nonprofit CRM, or donor management database, and not using it to its fullest extent is like driving a sports car in the suburbs. It will do what is necessary, but you’d be wasting its potential.

What are you waiting for? Hit the open road and rev your CRM’s engine.

Whenever major gift cultivation, solicitation, or stewardship is involved, you have to be prepared with a full suite of information about your donors. Ensure that you and your team are ready by storing all relevant prospect and donor data in your CRM.

Your donor management database should be able to hold information including:

  • Contact details

  • Giving history

  • Communication preferences

  • And more

Those can help you make an informed decision about which major gift prospects to pursue and how to pursue them. As your team builds relationships with potential donors and records their interactions in the database, various staff members will be able to take the cultivation wheel as needed.

Another asset of utilizing your CRM is that the data entry is often seamless, which means the potential for human error is drastically reduced.

Picture a supporter, who happens to be a major giving candidate, registering to attend your annual gala. As she inputs her information to reserve her tickets, that data is funneled into and stored in your database.

Prior to the event, your fundraisers can use that handy information to research the attendee and discover her potential.

When the day of the big gala rolls around, your team is ready to mix and mingle and leave a lasting impression.

And afterwards, her giving at the gala is logged in your CRM, and your cultivation is off to the races.

2. Track your performance metrics.

With all of this record-keeping capacity, you should also take advantage of your ability to track your team’s performance and make adjustments as needed. There are dozens of performance metrics that your team can track based on the data stored in your CRM.

For instance, you could evaluate:

  • Donor growth: This tests how many donors your nonprofit has gained or lost year-over-year.

  • Gifts secured: When you analyze gifts secured from one period to the next, you’re tracking donation growth, which is the metric sibling of donor growth.

  • Cost per dollar raised (CPDR): When you divide cost by revenue, your team should be looking for a number below one. That indicates that you are spending less than you are making. CPDR is great for overall budget assessment as well as self-contained instances like events.

The list doesn’t stop there. For a comprehensive discussion of fundraising performance metrics, check out DonorSearch’s detailed collection.

3. Make sure that your website looks the part.

As a society on the whole, we’ve come to expect a certain level of sophistication from our web experience. Donors visiting your website will be quick to click away if your home page looks like it hasn’t been altered since 2005.

One of the challenges of major gift acquisition is convincing donors to entrust large sums of money to your organization. Part of building that trust is establishing your nonprofit as an authority. The modern donor will not see you as an authority if you are not presenting a polished and put-together nonprofit. That polish can shine or dim on your website.

Ensure that your site:

  • Looks the part.

  • Is optimized for mobile users.

  • Contains all relevant information.

  • Makes donating online easy.

  • Connects users to your various other web platforms, such as your social media accounts.

A bad website can hurt as much as a good website can help, so don’t let all the great, user-friendly website building tools go to waste.

While we’re on the subject, it should be mentioned that you’ll also want to strategically plan your social media activity and use the page generating options from your CRM to design your donation landing pages on your website.

The last two points might not be priority number one for major gift acquisition, but they are general donor solicitation best practices to keep in mind.


Great nonprofit technology is here and getting more advanced by the minute. Don’t miss out on all of these excellent means to help your team secure bigger and bigger gifts to better serve your cause.


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