Review: Mega Gifts by Jerold Panas

April 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Fundraising

newbills150x131If you are a church leader, who is even remotely involved with fundraising, as soon as you finish reading this post, drop everything, go online, and buy Jerold Panas’ book, “Mega Gifts –Who Gives Them, Who Gets Them.”

Jerry Panas is one of the deans of fundraising. Armed with forty years of experience, Panas interviewed 50 men and women who had made gifts of one million dollars or more and surveyed about 1,000 fundraisers.

His goal? To document the factors that leads to and motivates donors to make mega gifts.

Virtually every page contains a gem of wisdom that can make the difference between your visit to a potential major donor a success and going home empty-handed. Here are some examples…


  • Why 85% of securing a major gift is in getting the appointment.
  • Why “doing your homework” can be the difference between success and failure.
  • Who is the best person to make the initial contact and set the appointment?
  • What is the one element of an organization’s staff that Panas found to be a requirement in every major gift?

The Approach

  • Who is the best person to set the appointment?
  • Can you reach a donor through his or her children?
  • Why no one ever got milk from a cow by sending a letter.

The Presentation

  • What is the most important aspect of your church’s appeal for funds?
  • Why should you sell this first?
  • Why involving both spouses can prevent your most compelling presentation from failing.
  • Is a donor’s close friend a good choice for making the presentation?
  • How many people should attend the presentation?
  • Should be presentation be done over lunch?
  • What is the chance of getting a major gift on the first visit?
  • How many visits should you make to a major donor?
  • Why is listening the most important component of the fundraising presentation?
  • What you should be listening for?  When you find it, what should you do next?


  • Why “ask and you shall receive” is a critical component.
  • How many times should you ask?
  • Why “you’ll be hurt more by those who would have said, “yes,” but weren’t asked than by those who say, “no.”
  • What is the “Rule of Thirds” and how can applying this rule multiply your results?
  • What is the “greatest commandment” of fundraising?

Donor Mind Set

  • Are major donors’ decisions to give spontaneous or do most want to think it over?
  • Why most donors are not motivated by the needs of your organization.
  • Can you secure a major gift by making the donor feel guilty?
  • What is the singular most compelling reason a donor makes a major gift?
  • Why do major donors make gifts?  Why incorporating the answer in your presentation is essential.

Mega Gift Characteristics

  • What is the “Rule of Sevens” and why it can lead to larger and larger subsequent gifts?
  • Are “matching gifts” effective?
  • What kind of a gift suggestion will often increase the donor’s gift?
  • Does a major donor have to be a member of your organization?

‘Nuff said. Buy the book.

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  • Brooke Fraser


2 Responses to “Review: Mega Gifts by Jerold Panas”
  1. Very interesting topic to research. I can’t wait to see what kinds of trends and facts are exposed. Thanks

  2. google102 says:

    Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and great design and style.

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