By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA The adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” applies to gift charts. A gift chart shows giving levels from low to high and informs fundraisers on how many donors they need at each level of giving to reach the fundraising goal. As such, gift charts are central to careful development planning. They are also useful for all sizes of nonprofits — not just large campaigns or large organizations. Taking a short amount of time to make, a gift chart will deepen your ability to manage your time and staff resources to focus
Category: Annual Funds
By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Knowing how much revenue you’re raising is essential. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet many fundraisers don’t know how to go about setting the right goal. There’s often silence whenever I ask a Chief Development Officer or the CEO, “How much revenue are you seeking to raise?” Recently, Jane, a mid-career Development Director, was honest with me: “That’s a seemingly simple question, she said, but I really don’t know.” I am empathetic. There are many good reasons why we fundraisers do not know our goal. For example, organizational budgets may not have been shared, or
The most lucrative fundraising months of the year are now upon us: September through year-end. The heat is on. Are you ready? Two year-end appeal letters are required, not just one. The donor should receive the first appeal on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and the second on December 26th. The second letter is sent exclusively to those donors who have not yet replied to the first appeal. Allow me to explain. With the fast pace of the holidays, if you don’t give your donors a few gentle reminders, your appeal is likely to get overlooked. One of the top reasons
Transcript: Hello, this is Laurence. Did you know that first-time donors who receive a personal thank you within 48 hours of your having received their gift are four times more likely to give again? Four times more likely to give again. Wow. Just because you said thank you. That statistic blew me away. It tells me that the personal touch in fundraising is definitely worth it. This means that you probably want to pick up that phone after donations are made and say thanks for giving. “We noticed that you gave and we appreciated it.” Should you do that
“If the only prayer you ever said was thank you, that would be enough.” Meister Eckhart A modest gift arrived from a donor who I had hoped would give more. My Chief Development Officer saw my frown, closed the office door and sat down. “Laurence”, he said, “every gift, no matter the size, is important. He didn’t have to give us anything.” That was 28 years ago when I was the CEO of a large nonprofit. I recall the sting of that lesson often. I was schooled about gratitude. I don’t think we talk enough about gratitude and how
There are three critical periods in the fundraiser’s annual calendar that you should know about. They are as follows: Period I: The January Surprise This is the second most lucrative time for fundraising. Period II: Summertime July and August – the perceived least favorable time, but there are exceptions. Period III: Year-End October through December – the most lucrative time for donors to give and for nonprofits to receive donations. Do these three periods match your experience? Your agency’s actual experience should be infused, so modify my suggestions to fit your circumstances. Later on, I will suggest a few customizations you can
In this digital age, the main comment I hear from donors about our book-length nonprofit annual report is that “no one actually reads them, right?” Sadly, it’s true, but like many nonprofits today, we’re adopting new conventions to more effectively communicate with our donors. Succinct annual reports are replacing the old fashion book-length version, and are designed to be a fast read (or view), and more conveniently shared. These pieces are 100% donor-centered and pack an emotional punch meant to create greater impact with less content.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart The optimal time to do your Thank-A-Thon is a few days before – you guessed it –Thanksgiving. You should consider “Thanks Bonanza” to be the official kickoff of your entire year-end drive, and your preparation should begin now. You can either do it the old fashion way, by making phone calls, or by using a texting message service. I prefer the latter, but there’s merit to the former. Both methods are intended for donors who have at least one gift
This is part three of a four part series on year-end giving tips. To read Tip #1, click here. To read Tip #2, click here. Many nonprofits receive 40 percent or more of their annual fundraising in the final weeks of the year. Start planning now – don’t wait until it’s too late. I have a few really hot “tips” for you about year-end giving, but first, here’s the data supporting the “tips.” By sharing these first, my “tips” will be self-evident. Charitable gifts were up 3% last year, and wealthy individuals were responsible for most of the increase.