50 Years of Philanthropy: The Impact of Individual Major Donor Giving at CICOA

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As we continue to commemorate five decades of dedicated service to the older Hoosiers in Central Indiana, we reflect on a journey defined by resilience, progress and the unwavering backing of our community. While our 50-year history fills us with pride, it’s the vision of a brighter tomorrow that fuels our passion and drives us forward. As we look at the promising future ahead, we pause to recognize how our donors make a difference in fulfilling CICOA’s compelling mission and vision.

Major Donor Giving: A Trio of Support

In this series of three blogs, I’ll look at different areas of major donor giving that have accelerated our growth and impact over five remarkable decades. Regarding major donor giving, we recognize the crucial role of individual donors, grants and corporate giving. At the CICOA Foundation, each pillar contributes uniquely to our ability to fulfill our mission.

Previously, I wrote about how grants and grant-making organizations play a key role in major giving support, as well as the impact of corporate giving at the CICOA Foundation. Today, let’s finish this topic by looking at individual major donor support.

The Power of Major Donors

What exactly makes a donor a major donor? Most organizations set a dollar amount, which can vary from one nonprofit to another, depending on factors such as size, fundraising efforts, average gift size, number of gifts and more. At the CICOA Foundation, we define a major donor as one whose generosity exceeds $1,000 annually. We acknowledge the significant role these individuals play in contributing approximately 15% of all gifts to the Foundation.

Despite a 6.4% decline in individual giving reported in the USA Giving Report, it’s essential to note that nearly two-thirds of the total donations—$499.3 billion—still came from individuals, reaffirming the enduring strength of grassroots support. Every single gift combines with the power of others to have a multiplying impact.

64% of gifts come from individual donors

Often, organizations only focus on broad appeal fundraising, but major gifts can be a lifeline of support and sustainability for any nonprofit – small or large, new or well-established. As we get to know our donors, we get the opportunity to understand the deep, personal connections they have with our mission, and that keeps us focused on what matters most.

Your Giving Moves the Needle

While not everyone can be a major donor, every contribution, regardless of size, carries weight and collective impact. Giving at higher levels shows that someone has the giving capacity, cares deeply about the mission and desires to continue being involved. We understand the diverse ways in which individuals contribute, from traditional donations to innovative avenues like donor-advised funds (DAFs), stock giving, and IRA distributions (RMD). With all of these options, there are greater opportunities for more individuals to enter into the realm of being a major donor.

Think about these ways to enhance your impact through major donor giving:

  • Consider Increasing Your Giving: Even a modest annual increase can make a significant difference in addressing challenges like inflation and rising operational costs. Your continued support helps sustain our mission in an ever-changing landscape.
  • Explore Stock Donations: If you own appreciated stocks, donating them directly to us can be a tax-efficient way to support our cause. This method allows you to contribute without affecting your cash flow while maximizing the value of your assets.
  • Utilize IRA Distributions: If you have a distribution requirement (RMD) from your IRA, consider whether you truly need all the funds for your living expenses. Redirecting a portion of these distributions to charity can fulfill your obligation while making a meaningful impact on our organization’s initiatives.
  • Leverage Donor Advised Funds (DAFs): Do you have a donor-advised fund? If so, you can amplify your support by making annual gifts from this fund. Even if you don’t currently utilize a DAF, exploring this option may allow you to make contributions beyond your usual giving capacity, furthering our shared mission.

Your commitment to increasing your giving, exploring alternative avenues of philanthropy, and considering long-term partnerships truly moves the needle and amplifies our impact.

Our Gratitude for 50 Years

CICOA 50 Year Anniversary 1974-2024

As we commemorate our 50th anniversary, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our major donors for your unwavering support and commitment. Your contributions go beyond financial assistance; they represent a shared belief in our mission and a commitment to transforming lives. When tax dollars are not enough to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities in our community, our major donors – individuals, grant makers and corporate donors – fill that gap and walk alongside us to fulfill our mission. We recognize the sacred trust placed in us and remain dedicated to transparently showcasing the impact of your generosity.

We celebrate you, our major donors, as integral partners in our mission. Without you, we are not able to fill critical gaps, empower our initiatives and uplift the lives of our cherished seniors. Together, we are creating a community where all flourish. Thank you for your invaluable support, and please know that your contributions make all the difference.

If there is any way I can assist you in considering your philanthropic goals and desires, please reach out.


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Stephen Gerber
Stephen Gerber

Stephen Gerber brings experience in pastoral ministry, nonprofit management and fundraising team leadership to his role as CICOA’s chief development officer. Stephen is responsible for the agency’s overall fundraising strategy, leading annual campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, grants and special events.

He holds designations for Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®), and the executive certificate in religious fundraising. Stephen earned a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Temple University, a master’s degree from Grace Theological Seminary and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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