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Making the Ask: Major Gift Discovery, Cultivation and Solicitation

June 23, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am

How do major donors think about philanthropy? Understanding their motivations – or philanthropic “faces” – is crucial to making a successful ask. This course will examine the “Seven Faces of Philanthropy” for an in-depth understanding of major donor motivations and then explore asking for a gift using donor-centric discovery, cultivation and asking processes.

This session offers practical advice to build relationships with major donors and can be used as a teaching tool for organizational leadership.

Learning objectives:

  • Understanding major donor motivations
  • How to promote your organization
  • Donor-centric mechanics of getting the meeting and asking for the gift

Program Level: Advanced fund development experience
Prerequisites: None
Instructional Method: Online
Social Worker CEU Credits: 3 hours

Cost: $65 members/$115 non-members

Please note: Registration closes two days prior to the class date.

Registrations are subject to approval.





Mary Claire Walther

Entering college with a vision of changing the world through the Foreign Service, Mary Claire is now involved in changing lives through the institutions, volunteers and executives she serves as a Dini Spheris consulting team member. She began volunteering and giving back to her community at a young age. Mary Claire ventured from her Houston home to enroll at the University of Chicago to study religion and history. However, after an internship at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Mary Claire became captivated by the transformative power of philanthropy and the integral role fundraisers play in making dreams a reality. One internship became many, and by graduation Mary Claire had worked in several development departments across Houston and Chicago.

What drives Mary Claire every day is a deep passion for service and a sincere belief that – in the words of Margaret Mead – a “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

Immediately prior to joining Dini Spheris, Mary Claire managed individual giving and the annual fund at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School in Chicago. While there, she helped develop the organization’s first major gifts program, quadrupling individual gifts within a single year.

Since joining Dini Spheris, Mary Claire has worked with clients throughout Texas and across the country. Engaged in a variety of capital and endowment campaign settings, she has helped development and executive staff to believe that vision – coupled with patient, diligent hard work – can overcome the most daunting challenge. In addition, Mary Claire continues teaching and mentoring the next generation of nonprofit leaders as an adjunct lecturer with the University of Houston Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.


June 23, 2020
9:00 am - 11:00 am
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