CDE project 9: appen­dix 3 — methodology

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 16, 2017

As explained in the ‘Approach’ section, the project draws conclusions from the following sources:

  • Major donor interviews – we have drawn on a range of sources of these, particularly including the case studies from the Coutts 2015 and 2016 Million Dollar Donors Report. References are included in Appendix 2.
  • Major donor fundraiser interviews to gather best practice, together with published articles and blogs that offer best practice examples.
  • A non-representative survey among the MGLG. The survey did not achieve a high response rate so we have used the information in a qualitative rather than quantitative way. It is also interesting to note that most major donor fundraisers are only prepared to be quoted anonymously. In part, it seems because they wish to avoid publicly criticising their organisation’s approach and response to major donors.
  • Various discussions on best practice, primarily through the MGLG.

The MGLG is an informal networking group set up by Helen Pert and Angela Cluff to encourage senior discussion on major donor fundraising. The group now consists of more than 70 major donor practitioners. The group usually meets three times per year and attracts 20–25 members to each meeting. Over the last 2–3 years the group has considered key topics, including:

  • What it takes for organisations to really succeed with major donors
  • How to offer major donors authentic, personal relationships
  • Recruitment and retention of major donor fundraisers

This project has drawn on the work of the MGLG.

The project report was written by Angela Cluff and has also drawn on the expertise of a range of senior major donor fundraisers. Special thanks goes to:

  • Kate Hogg, Director, Beneficial Fundraising
  • Sharon Jackson, Sharon Jackson Consulting
  • Alison Pemberton, Head of Philanthropy, NSPCC
  • Sarah Roberts, Major Gifts Manager, Taronga Conservation Society Australia
  • Bernard Ross, Director, The Management Centre
  • Caroline Totterdill, Director of Philanthropy & Partnerships, British Heart Foundation

Click on the image below to view project 9 in full - PDF format.

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 9 summary: major donors

This project will look at what’s cutting edge in major donor development with a view to capturing these lessons and where appropriate suggesting how major donor experiences might be applied to other groups of donors too.

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CDE project 9: the approach

There is a clear implication that improving the major donor experience is important to major donors, to individual organisations and to the charitable sector as a whole. This project of the Commission aims to suggest how.

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CDE project 9: putting the principles and actions into practice - part 1

Improve the (major) donor experience by… being really clear about what a major donor to your organisation actually is. 

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CDE project 9: putting the principles and actions into practice - part 2

Deciding whether major donor fundraising is really right for your organisation.

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CDE project 9: putting the principles and actions into practice - part 4

Seeing the relationship from the donor’s point of view. 

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CDE project 9: links across the Commission projects

Links between the major donors project and all of the other projects of the Commission.

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