This step is crucial in the Major Partner Cycle. If you had all of the time in the world, this step would not be necessary. However, we know that your time is limited; and so we must be strategic. Through this step, you will confirm that you are spending your time cultivating the right people by evaluating their capacity and inclination. 


Capacity is simply the ability to give. Listed below are some indicators that might help you evaluate their capacity. 

  • Job Title

  • Age

  • Size of single gift and cumulative giving

  • Wealth Rating

  • Business/land ownership

  • Ownership of real estate, planes, or boats

  • Reference to well funded retirement account 

  • Reference to selling business or other assets

  • Children/grandchildren are being "taken care of"

  • Past or current life changes, including death in family, divorce, retirement, caring for elderly parents, children in college or private school, job change, selling or buying a business

  • Plans to pay for children or grandchildren's education

  • Estate plans 

  • Volunteer commitments that presume influence


Inclination is the desire to give but more importantly where the individual would like to give towards. This helps you determine whether or not Cru is the best place for the partner to invest.

  • Consecutive giving

  • Pattern of increased giving

  • Number of gifts - one vs. many

  • Recent giving

  • Current or past involvement in the ministry

  • Positive experience with Cru

  • Friend or children involved in Cru

  • Keeps up with Cru

Evaluating based on Capacity and Inclination

Once you have evaluated if they have capacity and an inclination to give towards your ministry, as much as you can based on the information available to you, you must make the determination of the potential partner should continue in the cycle. Sometimes, you will find that they are extremely excited and have the capacity to give - then Yes! You can move onto the next step! 

But what if something is holding you back from saying yes? The partner could be a no! Sometimes their passions lie with helping orphans in Ethiopia or giving inner city kids the ability to ride horses. These inclinations don't exactly line up with what you are doing on campus. At this point, you don't need to continue them along the Major Partner Cycle. Thank them for their time and feel free to put more of your focus on other partners where the inclination is present.

On the other hand, they may love what you are doing in ministry. They might want to give every penny they have, but right now, that isn't much. Maybe they just bought a house or gave a large donation to their church. These partners don't have to be a no! Just because they are "not right now" doesn't make them a "not ever". You should consider continuing to get them involved, and maintain a good relationship with these partners. Then, when the time is right, you are able to ask them to make a bigger commitment to your ministry! 

A Note on Evaluation

This step is a one that can and should occur throughout the entire cycle. If you notice during Exploration that their desires don't line up with your ministry, you don't need to make that call! Likewise, if you are further along in the cycle, such as in an active engagement, and you realize that they aren't as interested as either of you thought they would be, you can also remove them from the cycle. Just because you start the cycle doesn't mean you will be asking for a gift each time. 

Furthermore, you aren't the only one who will have to make the evaluation as to whether they belong in the Major Partner Cycle. More often than not, the partner will self select out. They know their own capacity and inclination better than you do. He or she might not be quiet in making them known. If they say that they aren't able to during the first appointment, feel free to ask a few questions to determine what is driving that no. This can help you determine if they are a "not ever" or a "not now". If you sense they are a "not now", ask them if they would like to stay involved. Otherwise, respect their wishes and only make the contact they are comfortable with. 

©2019 Cru. These materials cannot be duplicated in any form without the permission of James W. Dempsey, with the exception of worksheets and forms. None of these materials should be used for profit.