Canada is estimated to have one 1,100,000 millionaires and by the year 2021 the number of millionaires and billionaires residing in the country is forecast to increase to almost 1,7000,000. Even as the number of millionaires and billionaires continues to grow, charitable giving in North America is not growing at the same rate. In fact some studies suggest that philanthropy is declining among traditional donors. However, opportunities for transformational gifts among new and emerging groups are increasingly stirring an interest.

This two-part masterclass shares the alchemy of what makes for the most successful high-net-worth (HNW) relationships, with emphasis on two powerful new emerging donor groups: women and immigrants. Drawing on almost 50 years combined experience in building relationships with philanthropists Jennifer and Mide will share practical applications of major gift concepts.

Having raised million dollar plus gifts for a range of national and global organisations, the presenters will use research, story-telling, group activities, and discussion, to equip major gift fundraisers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to raise the very largest gifts possible from a new philanthropic demographic. The presenters will demonstrate how increasingly, people of influence and affluence are often women and immigrants who are living under the radar of most organizations and are able to launch or expand an organisation’s most important programs through vital funding. There are five learning outcomes from this highly interactive masterclass:

Learning Outcomes:

1. Follow the Steps for How to Perform Prospect Research: Research is the foundation of every transformational gift. We explore the external market context, philanthropic trends, and donor behaviour in order to understand what inspires female and immigrant these donors to make their most generous gifts.

2. Independently Assess Your Organisation’s Readiness for a Transformational Gift: The principles for how fundraisers can prepare to engage the HNW community are important. From the organisation’s vison, to its board leadership, and the case for support, to systems and processes, we explore the breadth of how readiness plays a key part in every successful major gift donation.

3. Reflect on Techniques for Establishing Collaborative Relationships: We demonstrate how joined-up working between staff, board members, fundraising volunteers, and HNW individuals makes for a powerful relationship and achieves the best transformational outcomes.

4. Observe Role Play in ‘Making the Ask’: If you don’t ask, you won’t get. We enact role-play to demonstrate the skills and techniques for asking respectfully and confidently. In addition to how to ask well, we will enact how to deal effectively with objections. Whether it’s a proposal, a case for support, or a face-to-face meeting, we share the vital ingredients that go into making an effective major gift ask.

5. Review How to Expand Major Donor Networks: Repeating your transformational donation is essential to your revenue growth plan and building a long-term relationship with major donors. We discuss how to build strong relationships that enable fundraisers to retain and engage new HNW donors with particular focus on women, immigrants and billionaires to, inspire them to give at ever increasing levels, and open their networks for peer to peer major giving. This also includes engagement and recognition techniques that engender pride in organisations and donors alike.

Mide Akerewusi, CSR-P, CDEP

Founder and CEO


Mide is Founder and CEO of AGENTSC Inc., an international professional fundraising company delivering fundraising solutions to the world’s social impact sector. Mide has extensive experience working with nonprofits and major philanthropists in Australia, Canada, UK, and the USA. With over 20 plus years’ experience as a philanthropy expert in the nonprofit sector, Mide has also built philanthropic partnerships with some of the world’s leading corporations and grant-making foundations. In the UK, Mide founded and chaired the Black Fundraisers Network - a voluntary organization supporting fundraisers to learn about philanthropy within Europe’s African and Caribbean diaspora.  

Prior to establishing AGENTSC, Mide served as Director of Leadership Philanthropy at Pathways to Education Canada, where he helped to kick-start and close the organisation’s $185 million Graduation Nation Campaign. Prior to Pathways, Mide served as Chief Development Officer at the YMCA of Greater Toronto. He has led major gift fundraising teams and campaigns at Scope UK, The British Red Cross, and The Children’s Society in England and Wales.


Jennifer Bernard, CFRE

President & CEO

Women's College Hospital Foundation

Jennifer Bernard is a Certified Fund Raising Professional with over twenty years experience working within a variety of institutions across the charitable and not-for-profit landscape.  Jennifer has held senior fundraising positions at McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Ontario Science Centre, Royal Conservatory of Music and Trillium Health Partners, helping each institution to achieve outstanding fundraising results, open doors to new partnerships and deepen engagement of their stakeholders.

Jennifer is currently, President & CEO of Women’s College Hospital Foundation.  Her broad range of responsibilities includes overseeing governance and operations, strategic planning and fundraising leadership.

As a passionate advocate for philanthropy, Jennifer seeks to expand the philanthropic landscape through active engagement of donors, volunteers and talented teams that want to help build a better world.