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
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
Cash reserves and capacity funding are in dire need throughout our sector. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, this article is for you. Are you continuously juggling cash flow? Is your agency’s credit line at its limit? Is your client base growing faster than your donor support? Have funders asked you for stronger program outcomes, but your quality assurance (Q/A) department is nonexistent or understaffed? Is a new program needed, but you lack planning funds to test it? Is your I/T capability not up to 21st century demands? If your answer is YES to any of
Setting your right fundraising goal at the start of a campaign is very important. Why? Consider these two top reasons: First, large fundraising drives are not done frequently. Because of their infrequency, it’s important to make sure you’re asking for all you need. Once you ask, asking again at a large level usually can’t be done until five or ten years pass. Second, people decide on the amount of their gift in proportion to the goal. A $100,000 goal, for example, is unlikely to attract a gift larger than $10,000, whereas a $1 million goal will attract a $100,000 gift.
Shawn Jones: In your experience, have you seen a dollar “range” of fundraising campaign goals that work? Is there a goal that’s “too low” for a campaign to gain momentum? Bob Serow: Campaign goals are all relative to the culture of the organization and their capacity to raise money. If you have a real grassroots, niche nonprofit that raises an annual fund of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, then a campaign goal of $1.1 to $1.7 million will grab people’s attention. But the campaign case for support must be compelling. The key is that the goal should be an exponential increase of an organization’s normal
Often trustees will pressure us fundraisers to state which philanthropists we know and if we can get them to give to their cause. After twenty years as a fundraiser, no matter the cause or the organization, trustees still ask me, usually very early in the conversation, to list who might fund them. Ideally, I have previously done my own prospect research on the board members so that I know their giving history and can work this into the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to talking about the profile or attributes of the donor who I think will