Increasing those dollars: how to bump up your donations
Would you like to raise more money? Of course, you would. All good causes could use more funding; it is just a fact of life, but how to do it? Essentially, nonprofits have two options: increase the volume of donors or increase the average donation size. While many nonprofits spend a generous amount of time working on obtaining new donors, it is important to not forget about retaining and “upgrading” current donors, as well.
Why “Upgrade” Donors
Chances are your good cause has a core, stable group of supporters who regularly donate; to upgrade donors is to ask this group of current donors to increase their donation size or to increase the number of times they donate. While it may seem difficult to ask those who already give to give more, upgrading donors is actually the easiest way to increase revenue. Why? Because you have already done the hard part –convincing them your good cause is worthy. Since they keep coming back to give, they clearly believe in your cause and trust that you use their money wisely.
The Upgrade Process
1. Say “thank you”
While you always need to thank donors for their support, you should go the extra mile for regular donors. Make them understand that your cause truly appreciates what they do and that their support is needed to continue your cause’s mission.
2. Share where the money goes
Donors want to know their money is making a difference – so prove to them that it is. Share with your regular donors where their money has gone or will go and, if you can, show them the lives that have been touched by their generosity.
3. Explain your needs
If you are going to ask for more money, clearly people are going to want to know why, so tell them before they even ask. Explain why you need more money – whether it is because your good cause has grown, you are launching a new project, etc.
4. Make the ask
Finally, it is time to do what you have been waiting for – ask for an increased donation size. Do not beat around the bush with your request – be very specific in what you want. Ask if they would be willing to increase their yearly donation to $X amount next year. Always be clear with the amount you want; your donors will recognize that you are not just trying to milk them for all they are worth; instead, you look as though you have thoroughly thought out what you need from them.
5. Be quiet
Depending on your personality this is the easiest or the hardest part. Once you have made the ask, leave the donors alone to think. You were clear, so they know what you want – there is no need to keep talking. Donors will respond positively to your respectful silence at this point.
Yes, gaining new donors is incredibly important, but so is retaining current donors. This coming year, commit the time and effort to building relationships with current donors. We bet you will be pleasantly surprised with all the positive responses you will receive after a well executed “upgrade” process.