Preparing Major Donors

Posted on 03/09/2013 - by Dan Allenby

downloadWhen Lacie LaRue, Senior Director of Annual Giving at The Oregon State University Foundation, made a list of her program’s priorities last year, she knew that strengthening the major gift pipeline needed to be at the very top.

With the university’s first-ever campaign underway, her team needed to begin to raise the sights of OSU’s top annual giving prospects while preparing a new generation of major gift donors. To accomplish this, they developed a customized proposal for current and recently lapsed members of OSU’s gift society (i.e., The President’s Circle). The goal was to produce a highly personalized piece that stood out in mailboxes and resembled a proposal like those presented to major gift donors. This “special touch” – they hoped – would compel prospects to increase their support.

The direct mail package also contained a cover letter, a full-page response form with suggested gift levels, and a reply envelope. All of the contents were collated with a gold paper clip and inserted in a hand addressed, hand stamped 9×12 booklet envelope.

The results speak for themselves, with an average gift of over $2,000 – a 125% increase over OSU’s other leadership gift appeals. It also helped LaRue and her team reach their direct mail goals five months ahead of schedule. As LaRue says, “This initiative enabled us to upgrade our donors in an accelerated timeline and prepared them to make their first major gift.”

Go OSU Beavers!

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Upgrading Donors to Higher Giving Levels.