Taking Flight with Major Donors

BirdNote launched a major gifts circle designed to build a national community of engaged supporters among its top donors.



Thanks to generous investments from family foundations, the BirdNote public radio program expanded its carriage from 20 stations in the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to 170 stations throughout North America in 2013. With those foundation grants about to expire, BirdNote needed a major gifts strategy to replace those funds and position BirdNote for long-term success.


Theron Shaw Fundraising helped BirdNote design a giving circle program to leverage the organization’s national reach and build its major gifts capacity over time. Theron worked closely with the BirdNote team to plan the roll-out of four giving circles, organized by the geography of the North American flyways (the paths utilized by migratory birds). This strategy, conceptualized by the BirdNote team, provides a meaningful connection between donors and the birds they care about. Theron provided a combination of planning, project design, Board training and staff coaching to support the successful launch of BirdNote’s first major donor circle.

“We retained Theron to help us launch a giving circle program for major donors, but his skills and knowledge extend way beyond major gifts. As BirdNote grows and evolves, Theron’s counsel will be vital as we work to achieve diversified and sustainable funding.”