Debunking the Myths of Major Gifts Fundraising

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Major gift fundraising is a crucial strategy for nonprofit organisations to secure significant financial support. These substantial donations can propel a nonprofit’s mission and impact to new heights. However, like any fundraising approach, major gifts fundraising is not immune to myths and misconceptions. In this blog post, we will debunk some common myths surrounding major gift fundraising.

Myth 1: Major Gifts Are Only for Large Nonprofits

One of the most persistent myths is that major gift fundraising is exclusively for large, well-established nonprofits. In reality, organisations of all sizes can successfully solicit major gifts. Smaller nonprofits often build personalised relationships with donors, which can be a unique and appealing aspect of their approach.

Myth 2: Major Gifts Are Only for Wealthy Donors

It’s a common misconception that major gifts are solely obtained from extremely wealthy donors. While some major gift donors are affluent, others may have a strong connection to the nonprofit’s mission or a passion for the cause. Major gifts are not solely defined by the donor’s wealth but by the significance of their contribution relative to their capacity.

Myth 3: Major Gifts Fundraising Is Transactional

Another myth is that major gifts fundraising is primarily transactional, with donors giving and nonprofits receiving without ongoing engagement. In reality, major gift fundraising often involves building deep and meaningful relationships with donors. Effective cultivation and stewardship are essential for lasting partnerships.

Myth 4: Major Gifts Fundraising Requires a Large Staff

Some believe that major gift fundraising requires a sizable staff and significant financial resources. While resources can facilitate the process, organisations can be successful with a smaller team. What’s most important is having dedicated and skilled staff and volunteers who can build and nurture relationships with major gift donors.

Myth 5: It’s Only About Asking for Money

Major gift fundraising isn’t solely about asking for money. It’s about building authentic connections and aligning the donor’s passion with the nonprofit’s mission. Donors often want to understand the impact of their gifts and be engaged in the organisation’s work beyond just financial support.

Myth 6: Major Gifts Can Be Solicited Quickly

There’s a myth that major gifts can be solicited and secured quickly. In reality, major gift cultivation can be a lengthy process. Building trust and rapport with donors often takes time. Nonprofits should be patient and committed to the long-term cultivation of major gift relationships.

Myth 7: Major Gift Donors Want Public Recognition

It’s not always true that major gift donors seek public recognition for their contributions. Some major donors prefer to give anonymously or privately. Nonprofits should respect donors’ preferences regarding acknowledgment and publicity.

Myth 8: Major Gifts Fundraising Is Only for Capital Campaigns

While major gifts are often associated with capital campaigns, they are not limited to such initiatives. Major gift fundraising can support a wide range of nonprofit projects, from program expansion to operational sustainability. Donors can be motivated to give to various aspects of an organisation’s work.

Myth 9: Major Gift Fundraising Is Too Time-Consuming

While building major gift relationships does require time and effort, it’s not necessarily excessively time-consuming. Nonprofits can establish efficient processes, engage dedicated volunteers, and leverage technology to streamline major gift fundraising efforts.

Myth 10: Major Gifts Fundraising Is Unsustainable

Some may believe that major gift fundraising is not a sustainable source of revenue. However, when approached strategically and coupled with strong donor stewardship, major gifts can be a stable and recurring source of support. Donors often maintain their commitments over time when they see the impact of their gifts.


Major gifts fundraising is a powerful and adaptable strategy that can benefit nonprofits of all sizes. By addressing these myths, organisations can better harness the potential of major gift fundraising to engage their donors, raise significant funds, and further their missions effectively. The key is to build authentic relationships, focus on donor passions, and communicate the impact of their contributions.