Organizations often become so focused on acquiring new donors and broadening their universe of prospects rather than developing and building relationships with the ones that they currently have.
Many organizations that I see are not focused on renewing their current donors and planning for potential gift upgrades. In fact, while some groups are focused on retention, fewer ones focus on increased giving.
Donor giving remains stagnant by not being moved up the “gift pyramid.” What we do know is that donors will tend to maintain their current membership level indefinitely unless given an incentive or specifically asked to do otherwise.
What we do know is that donors will tend to maintain their current giving level indefinitely unless given an incentive or specifically asked to do otherwise. Upgrading your donors is important because it is the single most natural way to increase your annual revenue. However, the vast majority of cases, donors don’t upgrade until someone from your organization asks them to do so.
In this article, I share with you step-by-step, how to increase your current donor giving to your organization.
#1 – Determine who of your donors has the potential to increase their giving significantly. You want to be sure to segment these particular donors out for a more personal upgrade solicitation.
#2 – Once you have segmented these donors out, you need to determine what these specific donors may be interested in giving towards by donating. Then you can craft a particular upgrade ask tailored to that donor’s specific interest area. You may even want to create a custom donor proposal. These solicitations are to be done in person or last resort by telephone as you are explicitly asking for an increased gift.
#3 – For all those the rest that you have identified, be sure that you have appropriately stewarded these donors in the past. I recommend that you send these donors a personalized direct mail appeal as part of a mailing. You may also want to send a special project mailing out if you have a new exhibition or a project that specifically needs funding.
#4 – This mailing should thank the donor for their past giving to the organization, and stress the difference that this gift has had on the recipients of the funds. What has been the impact of the donor’s past contributions?
#5 – Now you need to make the case as to why increased giving is essential. Perhaps it is a specific project, or maybe even an increase in demand for services or even an enhanced vision through strategic planning. Whatever it is, you need to inspire your donors increased giving to your organization. Donors will not make a more significant gift to your group if nothing has changed.
#6 – Then craft a personalized appeal that does all of these things and makes an upgrade ask. I recommend that you use a customized gift string that sets their sights higher noting their last gift but also suggesting possible increased gift choices. Using wording such as “Please consider giving us more… or will you give us more than last year” just won’t inspire someone actually to do that. You need to “load” the gift string to “suggest” possible increased giving options. If you are not using a suggested gift string, be sure at least to ask for a specific gift amount. You may also want to read this blog post or view this webinar.
#7 – For those larger donors that you have segmented out for a more personal solicitation, you would follow the above steps, but instead of a direct mail appeal letter, you would meet with the donor and make the appeal in a personal solicitation.
So, while donor renewal is a critical component of your development program, we should not overlook the importance of continuing to set donor’s sights higher and moving their giving up the giving pyramid. A good development program should see an increase in average giving by their most loyal and consistent donors. It is our responsibility to do the segmenting and asking that will make this happen. Very rarely does a donor decide to increase their giving on their own.
These are the very same steps that have successfully worked for my clients. By following them, I ensure that you will have the same success that they have had in their fundraising efforts.