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Major Giving

Major gifts have the power to transform your university. WFAA has a team of fundraisers, researchers, and support staff dedicated to securing crucial, private support for UW–Madison.

Major Gifts: Defined

Major gifts at UW-Madison are philanthropic commitments of $25,000 or more. These commitments encompass outright gifts and pledges, as well as bequests and other types of deferred gifts, and all hold the potential to enhance the university.

How it works

Major gifts stem from the Directors of Development (DoD) cultivating personal, one-on-one relationships with current and prospective donors. These specialized relationships emerge through a series of steps, including:

  • identifying a prospective and interested donor through research data
  • developing and documenting action plans to engage the identified donor
  • cultivating a relationship to better understand capacity, inclination, and readiness of the donor for a gift opportunity
  • communicating gift opportunities that align with the donor’s interests and UW priorities
  • asking for and receiving a generous gift
  • reporting back to the donor on the use and impact of their gift

DoD Details

Most development directors are assigned to work with specific schools, colleges, and divisions that have a pool of prospective donors. These DoD assignments and fundraising priorities are determined by mutual agreement of the Chancellor, deans, and WFAA leadership. Whether assigned or unassigned, all WFAA DoDs represent the entire university and can assist all donors’ needs.

Collaborative Culture

UW–Madison prides itself on a collaborative fundraising culture that respects the principle that “no unit owns a donor.” This shared culture depends on accurate and current donor information in our ABE database.

The university’s most generous donors are designated as “Chancellor’s Prospects.” This small subset of individuals receives special attention from the Chancellor as well as the WFAA principal gifts team.

WFAA Liaison

Though every campus unit may not have an assigned DoD, each program has a WFAA liaison who can answer your questions about donors, gifts, or funds and advise on fundraising strategies.

If you have a Dean’s or external relations office, check with them to find out who the main liaison is. If your leadership knows your contact, get in touch with that WFAA staff member directly.


Where We Can Help

The Major Giving Team manages strategic asks for gifts of $25,000+. Our Directors of Development (DoDs) work in collaboration with campus officials such as the chancellor, deans, directors, and department chairs to define fundraising priorities. Although not every campus unit has an assigned DoD, each program has a WFAA liaison who can answer your questions about donors, gifts, or funds and advise on strategies to engage potential donors.

For other giving questions, visit the What We Do pages for Online and Annual Giving.

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