Major Gifts: What They Are and Why They’re Important

Did you know that about eighty percent of a nonprofit’s fundraising total comes from only about twenty percent of the organization’s major gifts? These funds are vital in helping a charity keep its essential programs afloat. It is important to know what major gifts are to understand the benefits of this critical form of giving. 

Major gifts are the most substantial gifts a nonprofit receives. The amount can vary depending on the size of the organization and the average donations it accepts. Major gifts can come in different forms, including non-cash donations. The Morning Star Foundation is happy to accept most types of major gifts. If you choose to give a major gift, it can be stretched out over time and allocated to programs you care about, giving you discretion over how to use your contribution. It is crucial to understand that major gifts are not just good for a rainy day for the Morning Star Foundation. They are an indispensable step toward reaching our fundraising goals and ensuring the future success of our programs. 

Why You Should Make a Major Gift 

Studies show that twelve percent of donors account for over eighty-eight percent of all funds, which further speaks to the incredible impact of major gift donors. The Morning Star Foundation is grateful for our major gift donors, whose contributions make up the largest percentage of donations we receive. These donors continue to believe in and support our mission to provide disadvantaged kids with a safe place to call home, a family that loves them, a feeling of community, and opportunities to learn, build self-esteem, and have fun. We are happy to see our donor’s trust and connection to our programs deepen over time. Without the ongoing support of our major gift donors, many of our programs would not have sufficient means to continue to help children in need.

You’ll Be Shocked at the Impact these Major Gifts are Making

One example of a major gift that has made a tremendous impact on the Morning Star Foundation is the John Yeats Estate. Yeats passed in 2016 and left one hundred percent of his shares to the organization by simply filling out a ‘Transfer on Death’ form provided by his bank. Morning Star has also been receiving a yearly distribution from Elizabeth C. Pool Charitable Trust since 2006. Pool indicated that fifty percent of the net annual income should be divided equally between five local charities, including the Morning Star Foundation and the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. Pool was able to note that her funds should be used for human health, housing, child development, and Christian religious or spiritual development. 

Given Yeats and Pool’s experiences, giving a major gift is a great and easy way to leave a legacy while ensuring that your contribution is supporting causes you care about.

How to Make a Major Gift

There are many ways you can give a major gift to the Morning Star Foundation listed below, and we can help you figure out which method is best for you. While we are grateful to receive any gift, the Morning Star Foundation encourages unrestricted gifts. When a donor does not specify the way their gift should be used, this is called “unrestricted.” Restricted gifts are funds that can only be used for a specific purpose as noted by the donor. The Morning Star Foundation accepts restricted gifts if the budget includes funding for the program the major gift is restricted to. Approval from the Executive Director is needed if the budget does not include funding for the program. 

It is important to recognize that the Morning Star Foundation will reserve the right to broaden or alter the purpose of the gift if it’s original purpose no longer meets the needs or serves its mission. The donors or donor advisors will receive a notice and the relevant documentation.

The Morning Star Foundation accepts gifts of real estate, large items, stocks not regularly traded on a national exchange, tangible property, art, gift baskets, and household items with discretion.  Likewise, interest in partnerships and limited liability companies must have prior approval from the CEO and Treasurer. However, the Morning Star Foundation may accept gifts of Remainder in Residence, remainder interest of Charitable Remainder Trusts, Marketable Securities, and is happy to serve as the beneficiary of a retirement account. 

While Morning Star Foundation staff may provide the donor with gift illustrations, donors are advised to obtain their professional advisors and legal counsel relating to the legal, tax and estate planning consequences of the proposed gift to the foundation. 

Now that we’ve outlined the specifics of gift-giving to Morning Star, you can give a major gift today through one of the following means:

  1. Schedule a Meeting

Perhaps the easiest and most fun way to explore giving a major gift is to get lunch or coffee with our Chief Executive Officer Julie Webster and learn more about our Major Gifts Program. We would love to get to know you and help you decide what best suits your needs.

  1. Donate Via Text 

Don’t have time to meet in person? That’s ok! Text “Morningstar” to 707070 to directly send money to the Morning Star Foundation from your mobile phone.

  1. Submit a Donation Form

Another easy way to give electronically is to complete the form on our website to donate directly to the Foundation. You can sign up to make a one-time or recurring major gift donation.

  1. Send a Check in the Mail

There’s nothing better than getting a letter! Send your check or money order donation via snail mail to P.O. Box 2155, Spokane, WA 99201.

  1. Deliver In-person

We would love to see your smiling face! Hand-deliver your major gift donation at our corporate office. You can find us at 510 W Riverside Avenue, Suite 201 Spokane, WA 99201.

We are excited to meet you and help you explore these giving opportunities. Please contact us if you have any questions.

What to Expect When You Make a Major Gift 

Major gifts play such a significant role in carrying out our mission, that we want to sing the praises of everyone who makes a major contribution! After giving your gift, expect a personalized thank-you to acknowledge your generosity and describe the impact your donation is having on our programs. Depending on the size of your gift, we may also recognize you in our annual report, on our website, or at a public event. However, you also have the option to remain anonymous. You have  full discretion over the amount of the information we release. Please indicate the extent that you would like to be recognized for your donation submission.

The Morning Star Foundation takes receiving gifts seriously. We comply with federal, state, and local charitable giving laws and are committed to operating under the highest ethical standards. Any staff member contacting donors shall subscribe to the Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner adopted by the American Council on Gift Annuities and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning.

Major Gifts Are One of the Best Ways You Can Help the Morning Star Foundation

The Morning Star Foundation deeply appreciates any donations. In addition to cash, check, and in-kind contributions, we also value the gift of your time and expertise. Please consider donating your time or resources today to support our mission to help kids succeed.

Get to know more about the Morning Star Foundation and Help a Kid Today

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