Who doesn't want to receive a gift of $1 million or more? Particularly for community-based nonprofits, it represents a rite of passage, an acknowledgment that the work being done and the resulting accomplishments and outcomes have been validated in a most visible and affirming way.
Is your organization a candidate for a million dollar gift? Which organizations get them, anyway? The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University released a study in April 2013 to address these very questions.
The findings: 20,941 million dollar+ publicly disclosed* gifts were made in the U.S. between 2000 and 2011. Not surprisingly, higher education and private foundations were the top two recipients. Higher education received 48% of the gifts ($86 billion), while private foundations received 36% ($97 billion). Everybody else shared the rest. Don't be discouraged, though: that's still a significant amount of money flowing to nonprofits in all other sectors.
Primary sources of gifts include, first, individuals (both in numbers of current and deferred gifts and dollar amount); foundations; corporations; and other grant-making organizations.
Encouragingly, local donors (residing in the same state or region as the recipient nonprofit) gave roughly half of the gifts (and half of the $). More good news: charitable bequests of $1 million or more were more likely to go to local nonprofits.
What does this mean for you?
First of all, it indicates that any organization in any sector can attract gifts of this size.
Second, it points to the importance of individual donor cultivation and stewardship: the #1 motivator for very large gifts.
Third, it says (to me at least) if your organization doesn't have a planned giving program, you need to start one. This is so simple; and it requires little in the way of investment by your nonprofit. Call me; we'll talk.
Finally, take note of the fact that, as the report states, "a significant share of million-dollar-plus gifts came from local donors" in the same state or region as the nonprofit, making donor relationship development a key part of your resource development strategy.
Share your million $ gift story here.
*Resource: the Million Dollar List, a database of charitable gifts.