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who can give a “major gift”?

In the last 20+ years of consulting we have spent a great deal of time working with faith-based clients and their donors.  At the same time we are continually looking for “major gifts” for the organizations we serve.  We’ve defined it by the size of the gift, and theoretically, those donors should get special attention.  I am, however, constantly reminded of the story of the “widow’s mite” in the Gospel of Mark and her generosity.  Clearly not a major gift donor by our definition but someone who understands giving.

MK 12: 38 – 44 “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

I learned this on my first job as a fundraiser for a major university on an annual stewardship event.  On a bus tour of the campus, I asked a woman who was sitting alone why she gave the annual fund $1,000.  She remarked that the institution meant so much to her son and her that she took a job cleaning houses so she could support the University.   I consider this a major gift and a sacrificial gift as well.

One of the things I’ve learned in talking with donors is that giving truly comes from the heart.  If you can touch someone’s heart then you both benefit. That person truly is a major donor and hopefully one for life.

Remember, major gifts may not seem large to your organization but to the donor it is a major gift.  This is a season of stewardship so thank your donors.

“Do not run after happiness, but seek to do good,
and you will find that happiness will run after you.”

JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE

Written By: Paul D’Alessandro

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