An average of 2.8% of a charity’s database has the potential to be a major donor. If the database contains 100,000 records this is an overwhelming 2,880 people with the potential to give significant gifts.

What constitutes as a Major Gift?

Here at Money Tree Fundraising, one of the most common questions that we get asked is ‘How do you define a major gift?’, with our clients expecting us to state a fixed sum for them. Others come to us with their own pre-determined definitions and there is huge disparity between their answers.

When approaching this common, yet important, question we approach from a different angle to most: resource allocation. It i no secret that any organisation has a limited supply of resource, and every one of us understands that for a major donor programme to truly thrive, time is the key resource that must be invested for the development of deep and real relationships.

So, let’s think about it strategically…

A green triangle, with a horizontal dotted line half way, splitting the top and bottom halves. To the left arrows go downwards, saying


First, take your database and rank it by potential gift size. Next, consider how much resource you can allocate to a major gift programme. Can you allow one day a week of your Chief Executive’s time, or do you have an established team of several dedicated major donor fundraisers?

The next step is to slice off whatever you can afford in terms of time and resource. This is your definition of a Major Gift.

Anyone above your slice receives personalised, one to one, relationship building, and anyone below receives your one to many approach; be that a mid-value or your regular giving programme.

By following this rule of thumb, you can feel confident not only that you are dedicating the right level of resource but you will be maintaining your capacity to delight every potential donor.






WATCH the video as Money Tree Fundraising CEO, Beth Upton, discusses our approach to resource allocation, and the secret to building successful relationships.


Whether you require assistance with ranking your database, allocating resource, or making those first connections with your potential Major donors, Money Tree Fundraising are here to help with any aspect of developing your major donor programme.

Give your major donor programme a health check now