Do you have several fundraising activities that overlap? Fundraising programs like annual fund requests, myriad special event invitations, and special project campaigns? What do you do when it’s clear your cause needs something more? Maybe a new initiative like a capital campaign on top of everything else?
When you have multiple fundraising activities underway (and who doesn’t these days?), it becomes even more important to keep your fundraising messages coordinated. You can easily fall short of your fundraising goals when supporters that you are counting on to come in at a significant level participate instead with a small gift to the first initiative that comes across their desk. In their minds, they’ve already supported your cause.
When several requests land in front of your donor, you want her to feel in-the-know, not confused and irritated by multiple messages. It’s time to streamline your efforts, get the largest gift from each donor, and keep your supporters from feeling like your cause is “nickel and diming.”
It’s time to consolidate. And guess what? It’s going to be easier than you think! Here are three strategies you can use to tie your fundraising messages together and inspire your supporters to not only participate in multiple initiatives, but increase their overall support.
Set up Strategic Comprehensive Gift Levels
You’ve seen donor recognition at different levels like Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels for specific fundraising programs? Well, just like recognizing donors as Lead Sponsors, Table Hosts, and Ticket Buyers for your special events, you’re going to recognize them in a new way; a comprehensive gift level. This reaches across your whole cause and all of your programs.
Comprehensive gift levels are fun and flexible. Here are three ideas to get you started.
You can set up lifetime gift levels – a way to recognize the whole picture of support your donor has made during their involvement with your cause. This is a great way to let your donors know that everything they’ve done has made a difference.
You can set up annual gift levels. This is different from your annual fund participation gift levels. A comprehensive annual gift level includes all of your supporter’s participation in all of your programs within a one year time frame. That time frame’s beginning and ending change depending on your communications schedule.
For example, you have a new donor that comes to your gala in March, gives a gift to your annual fund in June, participates in your walk-a-thon and bids and wins in your online auction in September, and supports your scholarship program with a special gift in December. When you run your comprehensive support report in August (showing support from August last year to August this year) you show that he is a certain amount away from the next gift level. You communicate the upcoming opportunities for September and your donor puts himself over the next level by participating in your auction.
Comprehensive annual gift levels work great with monthly gifts as well, since you get the running total of all participation.
An alternative or addition to comprehensive gift levels is to create special designation for multi-fundraising program participants. You might set up the “100% Club” that identifies donors who give to your annual fund, support your big special event, make a campaign pledge and include your cause in their estate plans. What would a 100% Club look like for your cause?
Whether you set up lifetime or annual gift levels or create identities that recognize multi-program participations, you have the opportunity to create a clear identity with which your donor can align themselves through their support. Give your gift levels and clubs cool names and everyone will have fun with the recognition.
Be sure to stop by our News and Articles page next week for Part Two of Comprehensive Fundraising. You’ll find some hidden opportunities as you roll out your comprehensive approach. See you next week!
Featured photo source PNCA
Love this idea. This was always a dilemma for us when I worked I the university setting b/c an alum would give to their school, to the university and attend numerous events. It's a great strategy for active nonprofits with multiple campaigns. Julia Walker talks about this in a "A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members" http://ow.ly/mUdwU
Universities have a special set of challenges when unifying their fundraising efforts. There is often several separate development departments with different staff structures and keeping everyone on the same page can be a logistical challenge. The most successful universities use large comprehensive campaigns to provide the impetus needed to bring their initiatives together in a clear communications package.