Three Keys to Increasing Your Average Gift

During my trainings on ‘Asking’ I love to see the looks on people’s faces as they realize that they, too, can ask for money. It’s fun to watch expressions turn from skepticism to curiosity to incredulous to thoughtful to tentative confidence. Then fast-forward a few weeks or months down the road and the person who was the most skeptical is now the biggest advocate for the organization and excited about asking for money. Just thinking about those experiences brings a big grin to my face.

One of the simplest ways to increase the amount of money that you’re raising is to increase your average gift size. Well, that and retaining a higher number of your current donors, but that’s a different blog post. Here are three simple ways to increase your average gift.

  • Ask for a larger gift. Yes I know, that sounds too simple, but let me explain. A few years ago I was working with an organization whose largest individual gift was about $300. Why hadn’t they ever gotten more? They hadn’t asked for more. Within a few months I had asked for a $5,000 gift (and received $10,000) from one of the organization’s leaders.
  • Talk about impact. So often, we talk about the organization – how great we are, all about the programs, how much it will cost, etc. But we don’t spend much time talking about how Sue is now able to go to school because her asthma is now under control. Or about Tom who now has a job and is able to provide for his family. Or Ben who is no longer going to bed hungry. Talk about how people’s lives are being changed – and not as much about you.
  • Think big. It’s easy to talk about programs and the technical side of things. But can you reframe what you’re doing? You’re not ‘providing counseling,’ you’re helping people lead fulfilling lives. Now, do you want to do that just for your clients? Or for your whole community? Are you ‘providing food baskets’ or are you ensuring that your clients aren’t going hungry. And again, are you doing that just for your clients or do you want to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry? You don’t need to accomplish it on your own. More and more organizations are partnering with other groups to help make a bigger impact on the whole community.

What additional ideas do you have to increase average gift size?




Three Keys to Increasing Your Average Gift — 8 Comments

  1. I love your ideas Kirsten and I also agree with Bunnie. Donors don’t want to only hear from you once a year when you have your hand out. 😛 Keep them informed with newsletters, personal notes about program successes your enjoying and occasional media stories (if applicable.) As we all know, it comes down to personal relationships making a difference.

  2. I have to echo the support for #1. I have seen extraordinary results when the ask starts at a higher amount. Organizations are always amazed at how generous donors are.