Raising High-End Donations: An Interview with Tanya Stanfield of CSS Fundraising


When most of us think of fundraising, we think of galas or grassroots efforts like bake sales and email blasts.  But have you ever wondered how organizations get endowments, trusts and 6+ figure donations?

We talked to Tanya Stanfield who is the Director of Marketing & Communications for CCS Fundraising which is a high end private fundraising firm that which is a private fundraising firm that works specifically on major campaigns and other fundraising initiatives.

What is a fundraising consulting firm?  What services do they provide and who do they cater to?

Fundraising consulting firms help non-profit organizations with long-range development projects – primarily campaigns or other major gift initiatives.

Firms range in size and scope. Some specialize in certain non-profit sectors (e.g. arts and culture, education, etc.) and some work with all non-profit sectors. CCS Fundraising is the latter. We work with organizations across the globe in the health, education, faith, social services, advocacy, environment, and arts and culture sectors.

Our services include campaign planning studies, campaign management, development audits and assessments, data analytics, interim development management, and learning and leadership development.

When most people think of fundraising, they think of galas & auctions.  What are some of the most common ways you fundraise?

While great for celebrating achievements and donor engagement, galas and auctions are just a small part of the fundraising pie. We focus on the much larger slices of that pie – the long-term daily major gift fundraising activities and the big annual, capital, endowment, and comprehensive campaigns.

When working with large, private donations, what are a few things people should be aware of?  

Most people don’t know that the big gifts you hear about in the news from the Zuckerbergs and the Pritzkers of the world most likely didn’t fall into a fundraiser’s lap. It took an institutional effort and time to engage those donors – becoming familiar with their passions, communicating the organization’s needs in an influential way, and creating a proposal that resonates with their philanthropic goals. The gala can serve as a starting point for that engagement, but organizations need to think about how they will further develop that relationship. Constant communication is key.

The most recent U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals that over 94% of high net worth donors give when they believe their gift can make a difference. Communicating a donor’s impact – beyond the gala, beyond the big campaign – is imperative. This is exceptionally important, and challenging, to do in a competitive non-profit environment.

What is the benefit of hiring a consulting firm to manage fundraising campaigns?

A fundraising consulting firm is ideal because we provide an outside perspective gleaned from years of working with a wide variety of organizations. The best practices and insights we’ve gathered throughout our 70-plus year experience is an asset to planning campaigns of all types and sizes. We’ve truly seen it all and helped many organizations raise more than they have in the past. Additionally, having extra hands on deck helps non-profit organizations, many of which are already understaffed, carry out their daily activities simultaneously with a successful campaign or major gift initiative.   

Tanya Stanfield Headshot.jpg
Tanya Stanfield, Director of Marketing & Communications at CCS Fundraising

Interested in working with CCS Fundraising?  Email Tanya at tstanfield@ccsfundraising.com




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