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Major Donor Fundraising on Salesforce

By March 17, 2015

Author: Chris Atwood, Strategic Account Manager,

Major donor fundraising is the lifeline of many international organizations, and building and maintaining relationships is fundamental to their success. Increasing technology adoption in the nonprofit sector means that organizations can now look at major donor prospecting and management in a much more strategic way, while monitoring activities and measuring success.

The Jewish Agency for Israel is one of the largest Jewish fundraising organizations in the world and a great example of how technology can impact and improve fundraising processes. Working with a global network of fundraisers this organization attributes over $40 million of Annual Campaign Revenue to major donors.

Like a high value customer, The Jewish Agency puts great effort into nurturing relationships with its donors and has invested in Salesforce technology to help them do this, managing the entire ‘sales cycle’ within the Salesforce.

Salesforce allows Marsha Sussman, Vice President of Fundraising Operations, Analytics and Direct Response to make important decisions based on qualitative data.

Sussman and her team use Salesforce to:

    • Monitor interactions between fundraisers and prospects or donors.


    • Capture gift closing, as it happens, anywhere in the world.


    • Manage the prospect time-line.


    • Track fundraising data and performance statistics.


  • Easily create dashboards, allowing for ROI comparisons.

According to Ms. Sussman, “Salesforce provides our Global Fundraising operations with the ability to capture information, monitor and communicate in real time. This unique feature of Salesforce has changed the dynamic of every facet of our business.”

Major Donor Prospecting

Major donor prospecting relies heavily on data. Sourcing and capturing information that is readily accessible means that fundraisers are better equipped to go after potential donors that best fit the profile.

Studies on major donors, like Theresa Lloyd’s (“Why Rich People Give”, 2004), reveal major donor motivations and their propensity for recurring commitment. Being able to match individual donor motivations to a particular organisation is a key part of prospecting and having this information on hand can save time, money and lead to valuable partnerships.

Lloyds 5 Motivations for Major Donors:

    1. Belief in the cause: which was found to be “the key impetus” behind donations; as well as influencing the size of gift and likelihood of ongoing commitment.


    1. Being a catalyst for change: desire to make a difference (to society, institutions or individuals) and for their contribution to affect change that otherwise would not be possible.


    1. Self-actualisation: which was found to affect recurring commitment rather than the initial driver to give.


    1. Duty and responsibility: to satisfy the conscious, donors feel obliged to give to those less fortunate and give back to society.


  1. Relationships: “the fun, enjoyment and personal fulfilment” that comes from relationships with a range of people such as charity staff, beneficiaries and other donors.

The Jewish Agency for Israel uses Wealth Engine (WE), available from the Salesforce AppExchange along with data stored in Salesforce to make some of these prospecting decisions. Wealth Engine (WE) uses data science to give meaningful, accurate and insightful information on potential donors, enabling fundraisers to make better decisions, quicker.

As to why this investment is so critical, according to Sussman, “Big Data is the buzz. Salesforce provides a user-friendly method to collect data about each donor prospect, push a button to analyze the data and capture the WE Profile as part of the donor record so the information is immediately back in the hands of our fundraisers.”

When we consider major donor fundraising, we need to take a holistic view of both the donors and the relationships the fundraising organization has with their donors. Technology can be a key driver in helping to inform and manage these relationships and measure the success of fundraising programs.

ContactInterested in learning more about how The Jewish Agency for Israel is innovating in the Major Donor Management space? Get in touch with Marsha Sussman, who will happily answer any questions: [email protected]