Does Your Nonprofit Have an Annual Giving Program?
A dynamic annual giving program is important to building a pipeline of future donors—including major donors. It is also important at helping you to fulfill your worthy mission and in providing donors with an incredible giving experience.
If you do not have a annual giving program—start one tomorrow. Included approaches that are as personal and as tailored to each donor as possible—from a new donor to a long-time donor, from a donor whose gift is below $25 to a donor who might invest $10,000 or more.
Identify the appeals that you will use—from social media and direct appeal to face-to-face. Have no more than one—yes, one—special event, and it should focus on cultivation. You should also consider an event simply to thank and celebrate donors and volunteers: a celebration of philanthropy! If you have two or more special events, analyze them (including staff time), prioritize them and begin to shed the less effective. Instead, focus on your annual giving program!
Also, build in communications and the most personalized thank-you program possible.
Establish donor recognition levels and develop a compelling case—not one that just has donors giving to what seems like a “black hole.” Plan to grow your annual giving through ongoing donor acquisition and inviting donors, as appropriate, to consider larger gifts. Through wealth screening and other research identify the major donor prospects and identify their areas of interest.
We worked with an incredible organization doing very special work. However, they had no annual fund and their giving was event-based. So, they had large capacity donors—capable of making gifts of $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 or $1 million a year, making gifts a few hundred dollars. There were never asked to do more in a personal way. When it came time for a major campaign, there was a lot of catching up to do. Donors were loyal in many cases; however, the organization was far down on their list of philanthropic priorities.
Prioritize donors according to their capacity—whether they are an individual, couple, family, business, organization or foundation. Often, we find an organization’s leadership is comfortable with foundation or corporate relationships, but have not focused enough on individual donors—where a vast majority of giving comes from.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.