Volunteer and Staff Roles in Major Gifts Fundraising

By: Orlea Miller
KC Topics: 
Fundraising & Development, Annual Campaign

Successful major gifts fundraising is a partnership between staff and volunteers. The following role descriptions in major gifts fundraising are typical in schools of all ages and stages.


  • Review lists of prospects; identify and rate potential donors
  • Open doors to prospects with a call or letter
  • Accompany staff or other volunteers to meetings
  • Take part in the meetings by sharing passion, making the case or making the ask
  • Follow up with prospect to close the gift if needed
  • Thank donors with personal call or letter
  • Participate in recognition events
  • Make a personally meaningful, “stretch” gift!

Staff Members

  • Prepare lists of prospects for review by volunteers
  • Track prospect names, information, and ratings
  • Prepare or present prospect research to volunteers
  • Make qualifying calls on prospects to determine interest level
  • Prepare volunteers and/or Head of School for meetings
  • Accompany volunteers and/or Head of School on meetings
  • Make calls alone on prospects as appropriate to ask for gifts
  • Prepare proposals, letters, and documents needed for solicitation
  • Keep lines of communication open with prospect
  • Follow up to close gift as needed
  • Oversee gift receipt, accounting, and acknowledgement processes
  • Thank donor personally, by phone or letter
  • Thank volunteer personally
  • Implement recognition and stewardship plans

Volunteers and Staff Together

  • Prioritize prospects based on capacity and readiness
  • Assign dollar level for the solicitation (rating)
  • Select team members to call on prospects
  • Prepare for meetings by assigning role to each team member
  • Conduct calls on prospects
  • Agree on follow-up action to close gift
  • Communicate any additional contacts with prospects
  • Assess results, review roles, adjust as needed

Credit: Julie Ingraham Walker, Major Gifts, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, 2006.

Prizmah acknowledges Collins Group: a division of Campbell & Company in the development of the material above.