When organizations enter into meaningful partnerships with people who can make significant investments in their mission, it opens doors to opportunities that may not be realized any other way.

Major Gift Development Consulting

You know the impact major gifts have on your ability to reach your goals. These partnerships can open doors to opportunities that may not be realized any other way.

A recent study found that a dollar invested in major giving produces, on average, $24 in lifetime value. That same dollar invested in other fundraising methods typically only produces between $3 and $10. The smart money is in major gift fundraising.

Yet far too few achieve much in the way of real success growing major gifts in a sustainable way. All too often, they simply fall into a pattern of doing the same thing year over year, with diminishing returns.

That’s where we come in. DickersonBakker helps non-profit organizations maximize their major gift fundraising effectiveness and outcomes.

Why keep settling for less? Why not contact us today to discuss how we can help you reap a richer harvest…

”DickersonBakker provided invaluable assistance to us in developing our major gift program. They conducted a very successful search for a Director of Major Giving. They provided sound counsel and led us through a build-out of our major donor program. Under their guidance, we experienced an increase of nearly 100% over the prior year during our crucial 4th quarter period. They also helped us shape a funding plan for the current year, toward which key donors are now making generous commitments. I would not hesitate to recommend their services to your organization.” Tom Balke- International Financial Development Director, Arab World Ministries

All too often nonprofits fall into a pattern of doing the same thing year after year with diminishing returns. Why keep settling for less? We can help you maximize your major gift fundraising effectiveness and outcomes.
Derric Bakker - President

Keystone Major Gifts Solution™

Our signature program, the Keystone Major Gifts Solution™, is a comprehensive package of services designed to help your organization develop all of the key components needed to build a sustainable and effective major gift development program.

The component parts of the Keystone Solution™ are universally important, no matter the size or type of your organization. They can be implemented as a turnkey solution to build a major gift program from the ground up or we can customize a package of services for organizations with an existing program in place but seeking to improve their effectiveness and outcomes in this area.

Click on the individual elements of the Keystone Solution™ graphic for more information on each component of the program.


Of all the building blocks needed to create a major gift program, none is more important than the people you have in place on your major gift leadership team. Having the right people in the right roles is a critical part of the Keystone Solution™ and we will work with you to ensure that your staff and volunteers are well-trained and appropriately gifted for their roles. If necessary, we will work with you to recruit additional members to your major gift leadership team.


The case statement, also known as the “case for support,” provides a glimpse into the heart of a non-profit organization and is a vital part of any major gift fundraising effort. With over twenty years experience working with major donors we know what they are looking for in an offer. We will work with you to craft a compelling and professional case for support and guide you through the development of additional collateral materials needed to effectively present your case. We will also spend time in the field with your team to help them hone their presentation skills and train them in the “Art of the Close”.


Any good fisherman knows that you can’t catch a big fish if you’ve got your line in the wrong pond. The future success of any major gift fund-raising program is built upon the organization’s ability to attract new donors to support its mission. To ensure on-going growth, a wide base of dynamic support is necessary, which presumes that a significant number of new major donors must be acquired and subsequently nurtured and elevated to rising giving levels. Using both “high-tech” and “high-touch” approaches we will work with your organization to identify a pool of best major gift prospects for your major gift program and to segment them into prioritized lists. As part of our prospecting services, we are also able to provide Donor Research Services to help you realize the major gift potential in your donor database and circles of influence.


No doubt you’ve heard it said that successful major gift fund development is “all about relationships”. We couldn’t agree more. At the same time, however, it just isn’t that simple. Real success in major gift fundraising is about strategically managing relationships with high-value donors in order to maximize their understanding of, interest in, involvement with, and commitment to your organization and its underlying mission. Even the word “relationships” is ambiguous. Major donors don’t have “relationships” with organizations. They have relationships with people in the organization. Too many put too much emphasis on the relationship with the development officer and overlook the importance of others. Relationships between your organization and its major donors actually have multiple dimensions, each increasingly important as you advance to higher tiers of giving.


Successful major gift fundraising is both an art and a science. The art is in the relationships, but the science is in the systems. Someone once said, “Motivation is what gets you started; good habits are what keep you going.” Putting good major gift development policies and procedures in place and getting into the habit of living by them is a critical part of making a program sustainable. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates will work with your organization to implement best practices within your major gift development department to ensure that the improvements we put in place will continue not just beyond our term of service but can be consistently applied even if you have a turnover of staff.


While mainstream donors may be satisfied with a simple understanding of what an organization does, major donors are more interested in what an organization achieves, or—more specifically—will achieve with the money they invest. Major donors want to know how their investment is helping bring about positive change in the lives of people. Major donors increasingly condition giving upon delivery of impact metrics, often requesting information on outcomes even before investing. Organizations that are serious about achieving success in major gift development will therefore do best when they embrace a culture that supports and encourages outcomes thinking.


An organization’s brand is perhaps its most important asset. Most people think of brand superficially—considering only those aspects encompassing the “look and feel” of an organization (e.g. name, logo, etc.). Those brand marks are just outward expressions of your brand, however. At a deeper level, BRAND represents a promise to your constituents of those quintessential qualities that define who you are, what you do, and what you stand for as an organization. Doubt about the integrity of an organization’s brand promise almost always has a detrimental effect on giving, regardless of the effectiveness or competency of the fund development staff. Establishing and adhering to a clear focused brand is foundational in your ability to communicate who you are, what you do, where you are going, and how you will get there.


CULTURE refers to the collective attitudes that characterize and impact the ways that an organization’s people will perceive one another and work together. A “development-friendly” culture provides a fertile soil for giving to flourish. Dickerson, Bakker & Associates has identified six ingredients that together comprise a vibrant, development-friendly culture, and—if consistently applied—will significantly improve your organization’s ability to consistently garner high-level investments from major donors.

Learn about the specific Major Gift Consulting Services we offer

Program Planning & Execution

  • Comprehensive design and direction in building out your major gift program based on best practices and industry standards.
  • Formulating and implementing major gift development strategies and systems to ensure more regular and consistent cultivation and solicitation of your major and mid-level donors.
  • Setting appropriate goals and objectives.

Case for Support and Offer Development

  • Crafting the content, key messages, and overall design of your case for support, major gift offers, and collateral materials in order to present major donors with a compelling case to invest in your mission, programs, and strategic initiatives.

Talent Management

  • Organizing your fund development department so as to optimize the performance of your major gift team members.
  • Sourcing, screening, and recruiting qualified major gift officers and other personnel to identify and fill functional gaps on your major gift team.
  • Maximizing utilization of the Board and other volunteers in major gift fundraising.
  • Guiding team-building activities in order to motivate them to accomplish critical objectives and activities.

Strategic Major Donor Messaging

  • Guiding the development of a cohesive brand narrative and overall messaging that is appropriate for your major donors.
  • Fashioning and/or producing all or part of the media and printed materials needed to maintain a cross-channel stream of strategic communications directed to the major and mid-level donor segments of your giving file.

Portfolio Management

  • Rate and prioritize mid- and major donors and prospects using internal data-mining and external wealth research.
  • Evaluating the size, quality, and composition of portfolios.
  • Formulating caseloads and recommend goals for major gift fundraisers.
  • Producing objective-based reporting and track against benchmarks.

Major Donor Solicitation Campaigns

  • Development and implementation of a quarterly-campaign major gift program model to drive more regular solicitation of major donors.
  • Developing and guiding operational plans, timetables, and a budget for major gift solicitation campaigns, including matching gift solicitation(s), creation and dissemination of all proposals, appeals, communications, and reports, and coordination of personal follow-up to donors via email, phone, or personal contact.
  • Directing the design and implementation of Major Donor Activation Campaigns to systematically identify, segment, and convert mid-level donors to major donor status.

Salesforce Implementation, Integration & Training

  • Implementing Salesforce to help your fund development team more effectively manage their relationships and activities with your major donors.
  • Integrating Salesforce with your existing donor information management software.
  • Developing the practices and reports you’ll need to be successful in utilizing Salesforce at your nonprofit.
  • Training your team to ensure you are getting  the most out of Salesforce.

Outcomes Analysis & Impact Reporting

  • Designing and implementing outcomes-based evaluation tools and systems to help you better plan and report on the effectiveness of your donor-supported programs.
  • Establishing and directing a regularly scheduled system for production and delivery of an annually updated set of impact reports in parallel with your case for support and major gift offer set.

High-Impact Major Donor Events

  • Developing materials and strategies for promoting the event and inviting major donors and major gift prospects.
  • Site selection and pre-event planning, including assistance in developing the programme, speakers’ list, audio-visual presentations, collateral materials, etc.
  • On-site event management and stage direction.
  • Assistance in training your presenters in the “art of the ask”.
  • Planning and assistance in effective follow-up strategies with your major donors.

Coaching, Mentoring & Training

  • Training all levels of the organization in the fundamental concepts and elements of the Keystone Major Gift SolutionTM program.
  • Training and coaching major gift team leaders in how to improve retention and boost performance of major gift team members.
  • Training and coaching field reps in how to create individualized elevation strategies for donors in their portfolio utilizing best practices and proven techniques/behaviors.
  • Training and coaching solicitors in the Art of the Ask.

What does forward look like for you?

Contact us today to discuss how our team of experienced professionals can help you get there.

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