Welcome to The Explorer

The Premier Online Knowledge Base for Information and
Statistics About Social Good

Browse The Explorer

Principal Donors

Principal donors are those that typically gift $1 million or more to charity. These gifts are often funded by appreciated assets and are gifted with the help of fundraising consultants or certified giving experts. Often characterized by general philanthropic propensity, donors who show loyalty to an organization through consistent giving make up a solid foundation of prospects with potential for increased commitment.

Predictive Factors

The best prospects for principal gifts tend to share a unique set of characteristics that draw upon their affinity and capacity to give transformational gifts. To a certain extent, these characteristics are highly predictive for principal gifts. Principal gift donors are generally more likely to:

  • Have high household incomes
  • Enjoy a strong asset base, including but not limited to real estate holdings in excess of $1,000,000
  • Belong to the most wealthy and affluent demographic groups in the United States
  • Be employed in the finance sector
  • Have high credit limits and strong credit histories
  • Be philanthropic with other organizations, though some are not current donors or may contribute well below capacity

While factors like income often correlate with charitable giving, income alone is not a sufficient indicator for major gift prospecting. Predictive factors can help to identify those most likely to and capable of making principal gifts.