How To Increase the Size of Donor Gifts With Fundraising Letters
Do you want your donors to give more? Do you want them to give more often? Lastly, do you want more of your donors to give?
If your answer is yes, then here are some tested ways to increase the size of donor gifts using fundraising letters.
Ask for Specific Amounts
Increase the Size of Your Smallest Suggested Donation
If you 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.
Circle the Desired Donation Gift
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 capable of giving at higher levels? What about your donors who sent you larger gifts than the ones suggested on your reply device?
Custom 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.
Mail Special Appeals to Major Donors
Donors or members who send you gifts of $1,000 or more should never be told: “Your gift of $25, $50, or even $100, or whatever you can manage, will 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 decline.
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