Let me start by defining a major gift.
The answer to that is “I don’t’ know.”
A major gift is really however the organization wants to define it. But it is usually based upon the largest gifts that they have been able to raise historically, and then calculating what the top 10 %– 15% of those donations would represent. That should approximate a major gift.
In my mind, a $1,000 donation would be a major gift at the majority of organizations. For some larger institutions, art museums, hospitals, and Universities, perhaps it is $10,000. But in the end, there is no real hard and set figure. A major gift is what you want it to be. Just remember to set realistic targets, while still keeping the bar high.
By that token, a major individual donor is somebody who has made gifts to your organization of that size, and hopefully they have made several gifts of this size over the years.
If they haven’t made a major gift, then they are not major donors. If they are capable of making a gift of that size due to their wealth capacity, then they are major prospect, who you would like to one day become major donors. But for now, it’s important to make that distinction between prospects and donors.
Defining your major donors is important though. The next step after this is to profile them.