Do you want your donors to give more, do you want them to give more often, or
do you want more of your donors to give?
If your answer is all of the
above, here are some tested ways to increase the size of donor gifts using
Ask for specific amounts
Stating the sizes of
gifts that donors can make helps to overcome their inertia and prevents them
from having to think up a gift amount (which may be too small) on their
Increase the size of your smallest suggested donation
feature an ask string in your reply device, increase the size of the smallest
suggested gift, like this.
$20 $45 $100 Other
$25 $45 $100 Other
This simple adjustment will likely translate into larger
average gifts, although your response rate may drop slightly.
On the reply device that donors mail back with their
gift, circle the second and higher amount. Beneath your circle, handwrite: Your
gift of this amount will make a big difference.
Ask based on each
donor's giving history
In the above example, you see that if you ask
donors to give a donation of $20, $45 or $100, they are likely to make a
donation of $20, $45 or $100. But what about your donors who are capable of
giving at higher levels? What about your donors who sent you larger gifts than
the ones suggested on your reply device?
One way to increase the size of
average donations is to ask each donor to give a gift of the same size as their
last gift. If Samantha's last gift was $150, ask for $150 this time. If Brad
recently mailed you a gift of $75 (which is an amount higher than $45 but lower
than $100 on your ask string), ask Brad for a gift of $75 in your next appeal
Customized asks like this are costly in time (database
manipulation) and production (customized printing for each reply device or
letter), but the results can be spectacular. Again, this is worth
Mail special appeals to major donors
Donors or member who
send you gifts of $1,000 or more should never be told: Your gift of $25, $50 or
even $100whatever you can managewill be much appreciated right now. In the
same way that you should never ask a $100 donor for $1,000, you should never ask
a $1,000 donor for $100. Asking major donors for major gift amounts will
increase the size of average individual donations.
Upgrade donors each
year to cover inflation
Another way to increase the size of donations is
to invite your donors, perhaps once a year, to increase their gift amount by a
given percentage to cover the cost of inflation. Example: If you can manage to
increase your gift by 4% this year, from $50 to $52, that will help us keep pace
with the cost of inflation.
Reduce your expenses
This step will
not increase your gross revenue but it will increase your net revenue. Reducing
your costs for design, printing, lettershop, postage and other tasks even if
only by a few cents per package can boost your net revenue without much extra
effort. Just make sure the quality of your appeal letters and packages does not
2006 Sharpe Copy Inc.
Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer,
instructor, coach, author and newsletter publisher who helps non-profit
organizations to raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using
cost-effective, compelling, creative fundraising letters. Sign up for free
weekly tips like this at http://www.RaiserSharpe.com
Read more articles by: Alan Sharpe
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