Where Major Gifts Start: Early Results From Our Advancement Leader Speak Survey 

Brian GaworVice President of ResearchOctober 6, 2022

Over the past few years, we’ve asked you to share opinions about your key goals, challenges and opportunities as fundraisers. This fall, the survey once again asks about key priorities, and also focuses some specific questions on how you support major and planned gift fundraising.

The survey is live through the end of the month, and we’d love for you to share your opinions. You can complete the 7-minute survey here.

2022 Advancement Leaders Speak Survey

Complete the Fall 2022 Advancement Leaders Speak survey to share your opinions on key challenges and opportunities for fundraisers.

Here’s a sneak peak at what fundraisers said in the first 100 responses.

Big gifts, donor participation and donor count are a priority

We asked advancement offices to identify their top priorities, and here are the top five items that they said are a “high priority.”

  • Booking major gifts: 79%
  • Growing total annual giving dollars: 63%
  • Increasing annual donor count: 61%
  • Growing alumni participation: 49%
  • Improving the donor experience: 47%

Current contenders for lowest priority were “seeking synergy across channels of outreach” and retaining key talent. That last one’s a little scary, because 74 percent of respondents reported at least one open position, and nearly 20 percent said one-quarter of positions are open.

Fundraisers think the most engaged and informed donors will make big gifts

We asked, “In one word, what do you think best describes the donors most likely to make a large, major or planned gift to your organization?” Here are the most common answers in the first 100 responses:

Advancement Leaders Speak: What describes your major givers?

Fundraisers want to spend more time on identification of big givers

We saw a big jump in the fundraisers saying they’re not spending enough time on identification/discovery of major and planned givers, with 56 percent saying this needs more focus. In addition, 41 pecent said they’re not spending enough time in solicitation, with 57 percent saying they are spending “about enough time” asking. This is a shift from previous surveys to emphasis on identification needs, and it looks like the opportunity to boost qualification efforts is heating up.

Look for the report soon, and share your insights

We’ll be releasing the full results of the survey in early November. Please take the survey today so your voice is counted, and if you have ideas for future surveys, or want to discuss any of these topics, drop me a line, I’m ready to chat.

About the Author

Brian Gawor

Brian Gawor’s focus is research and strategy to help propel both alumni engagement and fundraising results of RNL clients. Brian has 20 years of higher education experience in student affairs, enrollment management, alumni engagement and...

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