Grants Are Grand, But They Don't Heat the Office
After a few years of giving in this manner, annual-giving donors become the basis for more complex and larger gifts during a capital or endowment campaign, and eventually they'll be ready to talk about planned giving.
But foundation funds don't commonly work like that. Foundations often want to give to support or start "programs"; they don't want to fund keeping the lights on, the heaters working and the rent paid.
Annual giving might not be as sexy as a huge bequest gift or a really big foundation grant, but it's essential to covering the day-to-day expenses that are what your organization's about. Your precious annual-giving donors are the ones who pay the staff and provide the space so your constituency can be served. It's important to treat these folks well, to try to get to know them personally, to find out why they gave you a gift in the first place, and what you or your organization will need to do or show in order for them to increase their gift.
Ann Fritschner, ACFRE is a lecturer and trainer for the Duke University Center for Nonprofit Management and her new book "Starting a Nonprofit: An Easy, Smart Guide" has just been published by Barnes and Noble. She is a consultant and coach for nonprofit organizations wanting to reach new donors, volunteers and supporters with her program "Raising Funds Effectively" and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.