The “one big thing” in fundraising is always the same: Advance the donor’s hero story. That’s the right story. But for major gifts, we need one more element. We need the right setting.
Major gift setting: Is this the land of wealth sharing?
In a story, setting matters. Setting creates expectations. It defines appropriate behaviors. Are we in a fantasy realm? Then we’re open to fantasy events. Are we in the Old West? Then we expect Old West things. The story should match the setting. A John Grisham legal thriller won’t include zombies. A Zane Grey western won’t have a magical elf.
In fundraising, setting matters. Typical gifts come from disposable income. They’re in the category of regular daily or weekly expenditures. This is a small reference point. This creates small comparisons and small gifts. A story in that setting will never lead to a major gift. A major gift doesn’t fit the setting. It’s like a space alien landing in a Danielle Steele romance.
Major gifts are different. Of course, they’re larger. But they’re also different in type. Major gifts are not gifts from disposable income. Major gifts are gifts of wealth. To advance a major gift story, we need the right setting. We need to be in the right world. We need to answer the question, “Is this the land of wealth sharing?”