None of us like going to the doctor, or taking our car into the shop. But, when we do regular maintenance, everything runs more smoothly, and problems are diagnosed and corrected before they get big.
Fundraising is no different.
So, a fundraising check-up is a regular process to take a look at your organization’s fundraising and make sure your fundraising is where you want it to be.
When our team evaluates fundraising or helps an organization self-evaluate, there’s one thing that people often forget to check: their ask amounts.
Why do your ask amounts matter? Those simple things on your response device can help or aid your appeal– or hurt it. Most gifts from donors are driven by what you’re asking them to give.
So it’s helpful to review data from your last year of appeals and see what your donors have been giving in relation to the ask amounts you presented them with, especially as you approach the 4th quarter, and see if you need to adjust them.
The main things we ask:
Can we ask for more?
Are we asking for too much?
Something this important can’t be determined based on intuition or “gut feeling”.
To make a determination based on facts, take a look at the gifts to each impact to donors and what you were asking them for. In some organizations, the ask amounts will be specific to that donor. In other cases, organizations ask all or large groups of donors for the same amounts.
In either case, you’re looking to determine if the average gift is higher or lower than your ask amounts.
If the average gift is higher than what you’re asking for, that’s an indication that you can increase your ask amounts. If that average gift is lower than your ask amounts, then it might be worth testing lower ask amounts to see if that increases your response rate (and overall income).
While you want to challenge your donors to give higher amounts, you don’t want to insult them or ask impossible-to-give amounts.
Let’s say your usual ask array is $15, $25, and $50. But, the data shows that the average amount donors give is $50. Try adjusting your amounts to $25, $50 and $75. You’ll be surprised how many donors are willing to increase what they give!