As the arithmetic of fundraising states, major gifts will make up a large proportion (about 60%) of the funds you’ll raise during your annual campaign.

The rest of your funds will come from a lot of smaller gifts from your donor base.

Thus, a big part of your annual campaign should be centered around ascertaining what kinds of gifts your donors are able to make.

Prospect research will help your organization focus in on those who have the financial resources and philanthropic drive to be major gift donors.

That way, you can target your annual campaign efforts and allocate your resources toward cultivating these prospects, which will help you reach your annual fund goals.


You’ll want to find those in your base with the capacity to give a large gift and the greatest affinity for your organization. Turn to your donor database and study the data you have on file.

You’ll want to look at:

  • A donor’s previous giving history with your nonprofit and with other organizations.
  • The donor’s personal background.
  • Wealth indicators (such as the amount given in previous donations, real estate and stock ownership, etc.).
  • If the donor is philanthropically-motivated in other ways (for example, if they frequently volunteer with nonprofits or have served on a board of directors).

Integrate a robust wealth screening service with your donor database for the deepest insights.

The NPOAuthoritywill screen your donors and assign each individual donor several different types of grades.

  1. Is this a major Donor?
  2. Is this donor likely to give to your type of organization?
  3. How much should I ask of this donor?
  4. What types of nonprofits do they favor?
  5. How much did they give to them vs Us?
  6. We can even tell you how much money went to outside nonprofits.