Thank you for asking, but we’ve already made an endowment commitment to your organization.

    If you’re visiting with your best endowment prospects, invitations to become members of your legacy society quite often produce this response. And it is gratifying to hear! The challenge is to identify your best endowment prospects – your organization’s “best friends.”

    Successful endowment development programs provide the information and education that allow prospective donors to “self-identify.” Activities can include:

    • annual search letters (read more)
    • frequent mail programs
    • endowment stories/tributes in annual reports
    • small group gatherings
    • personal visits
    • legacy society events


    All of these activities allow your organization’s best friends to indicate their interest in considering an endowment commitment. However, there is one extra step you can take to identify your top 25 endowment prospects, a step that gives you the best chance of receiving a commitment.

    That extra step involves rating your top 100 endowment prospects* based on the following eight criteria – awarding 1 point for each positive answer:

    1. Thorough knowledge of and commitment to the organization and/or long-time board service
    2. 5-10 years of consecutive giving to the organization
    3. Community leader
    4. Capacity to give $5K-$10K to the organization per year without interrupting other annual giving
    5. Proven track record of for attracting philanthropic gifts for your organization and for other non profits
    6. They or their family have made a significant gift to the organization
    7. There has been an important positive prior organizational influence in their or their family’s lives
    8. Age 55 and over

    By scheduling personal visits with those scoring 8 points and progressing down the list as time allows, you’ll have the best chance of hearing your organization’s BFFs say, ‘Thanks for asking; I/we have already made an endowment commitment to your organization!”

    If we can be helpful in getting you started by providing an endowment prospect assessment tool, let us know! We’d be pleased to send you a worksheet.


    * Need help building that list? Read How to turn $15 to $90,000 for ideas!

    Posted by Mike Bussey on Mar. 24, 2016
    Mike Bussey

    Written by Mike Bussey

    Mike Bussey provides a comprehensive portfolio in fundraising and strategic management for YMCAs, churches and other faith-based organizations. Prior to joining the Donor By Design team, Mike served for eight years as YMCA of the USAs Financial Development consultant to 350 YMCAs in 14 Midwest states, as well as to the Jerusalem International YMCA.

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