In the next few articles, I’ll focus on the construction of a 7-figure caseload – a caseload of donors who annually contribute at least a million dollars to your organization per relationship manager.

The Caseload consists of three major gift categories:

  • Big Donors
  • Bread and Butter Donors
  • Beginning Donors (but still major)

In our experience, all three are necessary to create a growing and sustainable caseload. 

Let’s start at the top – Big Donors.

Simply stated, it is impossible to build a million-dollar caseload without big donors – donors contributing at the $250,000 level or more. But it IS possible. And the first step is to make sure you’re fishing in the right pond – or in this case, ocean. Think of trying to catch a 1000-pound tuna in a mid-west lake.  It’s just not going to work. Apologies for the fishing analogy – it is imperfect – but helpful. 

 So, what are the characteristics of Big Donors and how do we find them?

  • They are almost always business owners.
  • They can make decisions without going through red-tape or committees
  • They are already giving to you, but at smaller amounts
  • They want to see a return on their investment
  • Foundations will often be “Big Donors,” but usually are backed by business owners (at least at the start)
  • They need a trusted relationship with one or more people in your organization
  • Big Donors are motivated most by cause/mission but will often give to a large project or program
  • And they almost always will liquidate an asset into cash to support your organization

As you ponder this, here are three things you can do right now:

  1. Make a list of current donors that match the characteristics listed above (business owner, current donor, love your cause, etc.)
  2. Check your giving offers? Would they attract a gift of at least $250,000 or more?
  3. Check your relationships. Has anyone in the organization earned their trust over time?

If you’re lacking these items, it’s time to adopt some different fishing strategies!

We’re taking applications now for The Million Dollar Caseload Program which will begin in just a few weeks. Our capacity for the program is limited to those who have the capacity and commitment to growth. You can learn more here: