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Tribute giving stats to inform fundraising

Tribute gifts are great options to encourage from your donors, not only to raise money, but because these gift types allow donors to connect your cause to important moments or people in their lives. Learn the importance of adding tribute gift options to your fundraising mix.

What is a tribute gift?

A tribute gift is a donation that is triggered by a life event (such as a birth, a marriage, a death) or that is made in honor of a person.

Why do tribute gifts matter in fundraising?

When someone makes a tribute gift, they are doing so out of gratitude, pain, healing, love, heartache – there is an emotional tie to the reason they are giving in that moment. They want an organization that has a mission near and dear to their heart (or the person in whose memory/honor they are giving their gift).

By offering tribute gift options to your donors, you show that you care about the why people make their gifts just as much as the gifts themselves. It’s a way to show your nonprofit’s values and provide donors with an option to share their gratitude to not just your organization, but those who have impacted their lives.

Tribute gift statistics

Tribute gifts make an impact on dollars raised for 4aGoodCause clients and many have used the notion of tribute gifts to build campaigns around significant times in donors’ lives. When clients include the option for tribute gifts on their donation pages, they also see an increase in average donation size.

Last year, nearly 8.7% of 4aGoodCause client donations were directly from tribute gifts. This percentage does not include larger peer-to-peer tribute campaigns, which bumps that percentage up even more.

The average donation for a tribute gift in 2021 was $236.22 – more than double the national benchmark as reported by the M+R Benchmarks Study. Need more insight into the breakdown of tribute gifts? Consider the following from 4aGoodCause platform users last year:

One-time donations are the norm.

Tribute one-time donations were 98.23% and many times could be attributed to new donors. Gather information on how many one-time donations come in through your tribute gift options – how can you retain and engage these donors for subsequent gifts?

Opportunities for recurring donors.

Last year, recurring donations from tribute gifts were at 1.77%. Make it easy for tribute donors to check the recurring gift box – craft encouraging messaging on your donation page for this option. They can honor a loved one on their anniversary, birthday, etc., year after year, for example.

Tributes ‘in memory of’ are the majority.

At 61.34%, tribute gifts made in memory of someone are the number one reason donors make such a gift. Tribute gifts in honor of someone (or thing) were at 38.67%. This is great information to assess as it can provide you with ideas on how to focus tribute gift messaging or when/how to consider outreach to lapsed donors, new donors or donors who don’t regularly make tribute gifts.

Notification types are important.

Your donation page should provide notification options (and ways for donors to opt-out) which includes notifications that can be sent automatically to individuals or family members that the gift is made in honor or in memory of. Be sure to give all option types – email notification, snail mail notification or no notification. In fact, all three notification types had a very close split across all 4aGoodCause clients last year:

    • Email notifications: 32.51%
    • Snail mail notifications: 24.74%
    • No notification: 42.75%

Ways to elevate your tribute gifts

Understanding donor mindsets and the metrics related to tribute gifts is the first step in establishing a successful tribute gift program. As you develop your program,

  • Communicate your tribute gift options on all digital channels
  • Use your website as your “home base” for options and more information
  • Implement P2P giving to expand your reach and make it easy for multiple people to give on behalf of a loved one
  • Develop strong recognition practices

Get started with tribute gifts for your nonprofit

We have a great resource for you to get you started with tribute gifts: Our free webinar, “Tribute Gifts Make a Difference” walks you through tribute gifts and how these types of gifts can play a big part in your fundraising. We encourage you to watch it at a time that is convenient for you for ideas on how to make tribute gifts work for your nonprofit.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, a simple and effective fundraising CRM that specializes in earning recurring revenue for nonprofits through monthly giving. For 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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