Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits

The report, titled Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits, distills insights from nearly 200 nonprofit leaders from CEP’s Grantee Voice panel to learn what types of support nonprofits already receive from major donors, what major donors can do to support nonprofits better, and how nonprofits’ relationships with major donors differ from their relationships with staffed foundations. This resource also includes questions to guide major donors in deciding what kind(s) of support to provide to nonprofits.

What did we learn from these nonprofit leaders? Crucial Donors identifies three key findings regarding the ways in which major donors can most effectively support nonprofits:

  1. Relationships matter;
  2. There is an understanding gap between how well nonprofit leaders believe that major donors need to understand their organizations and the context of their work, and the current level of understanding that major donors have; and
  3. Nonprofits most need multiyear commitments, unrestricted gifts, and support beyond money.

While these key insights are applicable to donors of all kinds, they are particularly important for major givers as they continue to become an increasingly crucial resource for nonprofits, the report shows. In a nonprofit leader’s own words, in the coming years, “Major donors will continue to be the most important resource for nonprofits.” By learning and providing what nonprofits most need – in terms of relationships, understanding, and types of support – major donors can have an even greater impact on the issues they seek to affect.

This research was supported in part by funding from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and Raikes Foundation.

We invite you to download and read the report in full, and as always, we welcome your thoughts and reactions.

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