6 Ways You’re Stifling Gift Amounts

When it comes to donors and their gifts, there’s a lot you can control.

You can ensure a donor has a positive giving experience; that they feel appreciated and heard. You can guide donors on where and when they can give. And you can even help persuade donors to give a certain amount.

At the same time, you may also inadvertently limit gift amounts.

If you’ve noticed a lull in donations, a lack of enthusiasm during your latest campaigns, or a decrease in gift amounts, then it’s likely you’re restraining your donor’s giving process.

Check out these six ways you may be stifling gift amounts, and use the tips I’ve outlined below to regain control of the donation process.stifling-donations

1. You’re Not Prospecting The Correct Donors

Whether you’re looking to move mid-level donors to the major donor level, or you’re looking for brand new donors to help your cause, the key is to target the right people and bring them onboard.

Ideal donor prospects are:

  • Those that are familiar with your organization; people who’ve experienced your work firsthand, or otherwise know your nonprofit story
  • Current and lapsed donors
  • People with a passion for your cause
  • Volunteers
  • Those with the financial capacity to give

When you expend your energy on prospecting donors who may have the capacity to give, but not the desire, you’re taking energy away from other prospects who may give more if they’re nurtured. Always look at multiple criteria to ensure the donor is a good, long-term fit.

2. You Rely On Giving Societies

In theory, giving societies bring people together for the greater good. These special groups often incentivize donors to give a certain amount of money in exchange for a society title or other unique privileges.

But what giving societies fail to do is maximize a donor’s giving potential.

Let’s say your organization uses giving societies. Donors who give $1,000 a year are considered Gold members, $10,000 equates to Platinum, and $25,000 to Diamond. When donors reach that Diamond level, they’re automatically invited to the donor appreciation party.

That sounds like a great way to get people to give $25,000, right?

However, that $25,000 cap is a limitation. It tells donors, even those with the capacity to give twice that or more, that $25,000 is what you want and expect– nothing more.

Giving societies are organization-centric. Move away from these in favor of a more individual, donor-centric approach.

3. Your Organization Is Siloed

On the average working day, it’s hard to collaborate with your own team, let alone each department within your organization. Unfortunately, siloed organizations are the norm in the nonprofit world.

But when you as a fundraiser, are unaware of what’s happening in marketing, volunteer coordination, or any other department, it’s difficult to connect your donor with the work you’re doing.

If you don’t have a firm grasp on your organization’s impact, then it’s hard to connect your donors to your work on an emotional level, which then helps you bring in the donations you desperately need.

Siloes are normal, but they’re not mandatory. Try to break down those walls, foster cross-department communication, and notice how well that increases your ability to share your nonprofit story with donors.

4. You Lack Giving Options

Which avenues can a donor use to give to your nonprofit?

Do you allow donations through your website, direct mail, and an online fundraising page? Have you linked your donation hub to your social media profiles? Are your website and other online giving pages optimized for mobile?

You may occasionally meet with your donors in-person, but donors are increasingly present online. And if a prospective donor goes online and can’t access your donation page because your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re bound to miss out on that donation, and a potentially long-lasting relationship.

When you limit your giving options, you stifle gift amounts; plain and simple.

5. You’re Not Relatable

So, you improved 400 lives this year. Awesome! But how? Who? Why? Though that number is impressive, it doesn’t mean much without context.

When donors can’t relate to your nonprofit story, they’re not going to give. And why should they?

It’s your responsibility to make your cause a relatable one. Use strong nonprofit stories that include a hero’s journey, a compelling arc, and an impact-related solution.

Incorporate images and videos to give your donors and up close and personal look at what their money is helping to accomplish.

Your donor’s heart and mind are the first stop in the donation process.

6. You’re Simply Not Asking

It’s okay to ask your donors to give more than once a year. In fact, it’s encouraged. Asking shows your donors that their gift matters.

If you’re not asking, they’re not going to give.

Add strong calls to action at the end of your donor appeal. Be specific about what you want from your donor. Are you looking to meet a specific financial or impact goal? If so, note that.

Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst that could happen is they may say “no.” But when you don’t ask, you’ll never know that donor’s real potential.

Do This ASAP

  • Go through your donor and major donor prospect lists. If your prospects fail to meet your criteria, move them down to the bottom of the list. Then, focus your efforts on those that show passion for your cause.
  • Consider an overhaul of your giving societies. If you do decide to keep them, incorporate a step-up plan to continue moving your donors along a path of progression.
  • Collaborate with your coworkers to learn about the inner workings of your organization, and connect with people and stories that you can share with donors.
  • Analyze your current giving options and find ways to reach donors wherever and whenever they are, including online and offline.
  • Fine tune your nonprofit story so that it’s not just informative, it’s emotional and inspirational.
  • Don’t forget to ask your donors for a gift, and never assume that you won’t receive one. It never hurts to ask.

Don’t be your own worst enemy. Instead, look at the ways you may be stifling gift amounts at your organization, and correct them as soon as possible.

You’ll immediately begin reaping the rewards.

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