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Kellogg School of Management

Major Gift Solicitation Strategies

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Next dates

Nov 6—7
2 days
Chicago, Illinois, United States
USD 1150
USD 575 per day
Mar 12—13, 2020
2 days
Chicago, Illinois, United States
USD 1150
USD 575 per day
Nov 4—5, 2020
2 days
Chicago, Illinois, United States
USD 1150
USD 575 per day


Empowering Fundraising Professionals

The most effective and efficient way to raise money from individuals — the source of nearly 90 percent of the charitable contributions made in the United States — has always been through personal, face-to-face solicitation. In today’s interconnected environment, where many rely on technology to deliver their messages, the personal approach is more important than ever.

In this highly interactive program, guided by our expert academic and practitioner faculty, you’ll explore the fundamentals and processes of a successful major gift solicitation strategy, examine your own leadership strengths and practice applying the science of persuasion and the art of storytelling. Participants in this program will be able to conduct successful major gift solicitations and implement a major gift program immediately after participating in this program.

Key Benefits

  • A broad understanding of philanthropy today, specifically the state of major gift solicitation
  • The opportunity to craft a personal and professional introduction for major gift solicitation visit
  • New knowledge and deeper understanding of the keys to successful major gift solicitation
  • A detailed overview of the major gift solicitation process from identification to cultivation to solicitation to stewardship and follow-up
  • A detailed step-by-step guide to major gift solicitation visit "best practices"

Program Content

Trends in major gift solicitation

  • Review of the current climate in major gift solicitation
  • Take a brief look at current data

Leadership story lab

  • Fundamental story framework
  • Essential story elements
  • Crafting a brief, brilliant professional introduction
  • Practicing and delivering stories with guided feedback

The essential elements of a successful major gift solicitation program

  • Developing and presenting a clear case for support/investment
  • Prospects
  • Organizational and board leadership
  • Creating a climate for giving and a culture of philanthropy

Understanding the major gift solicitation system

  • Setting visits and meetings
  • Visit benchmarks
  • Before and after the visit
  • Tracking commitment, pending decisions
  • Acknowledgement and stewardship

The anatomy of a best practices major gift solicitation

  • Strategy/preparation
  • Breaking the ice
  • Setting the agenda
  • Presenting the case
  • Asking questions
  • Asking for the gift/investment and the art of "closing"
  • Follow-up, next steps

Who should attend

  • New and experienced major gift officers
  • CEOs and executive directors of nonprofit organizations
  • Board members of nonprofit organizations
  • Team members with development responsibilities at nonprofit organizations who want to learn more and/or become major gift officers
  • Administrative professionals who support the major gift solicitation process


Liz Livingston Howard is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Ms. Howard is the Director of Kellogg's Nonprofit Management Executive Education programs and a Clinical Professor of Management. She developed and teaches...
Esther Choy is the president and chief story facilitator of the business communication training and consulting firm Leadership Story Lab. She teaches in the executive education programs at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Her deb...
An attitude of Life-Long Learning, a passion for Organizational Management, a drive for Executive Education and a service-mindset for Public Service Initiatives. A professional who strongly believes in best practices in professional development and cross-sector collaborations. A multilingual and ...
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