Demonstrate Impact to Land the Major Gift

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University completed a study of high net worth philanthropy which showed an overwhelming majority of donors would give more if the charity could demonstrate more impact with their gifts.

What does it mean to demonstrate impact?  In the business world, impact is understood.  It  looks like sales, profit, market penetration, etc.  In the non profit world, there tends to be a resistance to measuring the results of an organization.

It’s true: much of the work of the non profit is a subjective measurement.  How do you measure social outcomes?  How do you measure the growth of a disciple?

But it’s too easy to stop there.  Instead, most charities – particularly Christian charities – need to think a bit more creatively about how their measurements.  It might be things like:

  • Number of website hits
  • Requests for information
  • Progress through a course of study by a specified number of individuals
  • Number of phone calls fielded
  • Number of people coming from an ever expanding geographic area

The Indiana study tells us that major donors are looking for, even demanding this kind of information.  Those that manage to respond to that demand will see major gifts their way.  And those that don’t?

William High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (  If you have questions about this blog or how to demonstrate impact email him at


One Response to “Demonstrate Impact to Land the Major Gift”

  1. Linden Says:

    You are so right! We have become very sensitive to this. And I believe it is a part of our recent success. Even though we deal with a highly confidential ministry, testimonials (usually anonymous) and statistics still are important to the donor.

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