Transformational Major Giving Pilot Program

transformational major giving


The time has come to seize the tremendous opportunity that major giving revenue holds for public media by enabling our organizations to embrace true individual philanthropy.

Transformational major giving is a proven model in other sectors, and meets a strong desire among our audiences to give big with great impact. But public media has not, to date, possessed the resources to wholly implement a major giving approach that enables us to make good on this opportunity.

Greater Public is partnering with major-gift consulting agency Veritus Group to achieve this transformation across the public media sector. Beginning with participating organizations Colorado Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, our ambitious two-year major giving pilot program seeks to substantially increase the revenue of these organizations to develop a model that can be scaled to every public media organization around the country.

Working closely with the pilot program stations, our structured, practice-based approach seeks to:

  • Measure results,
  • Document the experiences of the participating organizations,
  • Identify best practices that will be communicated to the rest of our Greater Public membership to inform your own fundraising strategy, and
  • Shift the culture at participating organizations to focus on developing and cultivating deeper relationships with donors and connecting with their priorities.

“At its core it’s about building stronger and deeper relationships with donors through a disciplined process. When you really can connect a human being and their interest and passions to the cause of the nonprofit, it changes the economic dynamic of the organization. It results in more loyal giving, more transformational giving and less attrition.”

– Jeff Schreifels, Veritus Group Senior Partner

Greater Public is taking on a calculated risk to pursue this innovative program. We have secured a $1 million program-related investment from a New York-based family foundation to fund the intensive multi-year pilot program.

Staff at pilot organizations have voiced their appreciation that management is investing in training and support from a proven partner like Veritus Group, designed to make the program successful in the long-term:

“For us, this is about connecting with donors where they are with the level of engagement and support that is right for them. We now have a better system in place with the staffing, tools and procedures to really be able to focus on donors who want to give back at a higher level and give them the level of attention that is appropriate for someone who has the capacity, interest and desire to make a five-, six- or seven-figure gift.”

– Jim East, senior vice president of development, Colorado Public Radio

“It’s really adding to and deepening the fundraising and development operations of public media and honoring the heritage of that membership-driven type of fundraising. It’s also formalizing a process around major giving which, I think, is critically important to the future of public media. We’re laying the groundwork for future success.”

– David Heck, director of philanthropy, WHYY

We’re excited to share our progress as we move forward. We’ll share how this process-driven initiative is working for participating media organizations, and what the entire public media ecosystem can learn from the pilot.

Read Greater Public president and CEO Joyce MacDonald’s recent white paper about the great major giving pivot.

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The pilot program is a bold first step toward giving public media stations a proven process to help embrace major gifts. Individual public media organizations – even the largest – don’t have the margin necessary to experiment with large-scale innovative ideas. This pilot program is a bold first step toward giving public media a proven process to help all organizations embrace the opportunity in major gifts.

— Joyce MacDonald
Greater Public President and CEO