Fundraisers understand the importance of having effective strategies and tools to ensure the success of their nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. One commonly used tool in capital campaigns is the gift range calculator, also known as a gift table, gift range chart, or donor pyramid. In part one of this blog series, we explain how to use a fundraising gift range calculator. In part two, we explore how to present your gift range calculator and recommendations during your next board meeting!
Getting Started with the Gift Range Calculator
Congratulations on creating a gift chart for your fundraising campaign and determining that your goal is attainable with your current donor prospects. Now, you might be wondering which donors to target using the gift chart. Concentrate your initial efforts on major capacity donors. The gift chart works best with prospects who have both the financial capacity to give and a strong affinity for your organization.
- Identify your top donor prospects to fill gift levels.
Start by focusing on donors who have the potential to contribute 15-25% of your fundraising goal. For example, if your campaign aims to raise $1,000,000, you should identify a donor who can contribute at least $150,000-$250,000. As a general guideline, aim to have 3-5 prospects for each gift level on the chart.
- Ensure the top donors on your gift range chart have capacity and affinity.
For a donor to make a lead or major gift, three factors need to align: their financial capacity, their connection to your organization’s mission, and the timing. Your team will need to conduct prospect research to assess these factors and qualify donors accordingly.
- Schedule donor meetings with the top prospects from your gift table.
Once you have identified 3-5 top prospects, it’s time to secure meetings with them. For the purposes of this article, we assume you already have an established relationship with these donors. During this phase, your team will decide who should attend the meetings. Depending on the donor and the relationship dynamics, it may be appropriate to involve the CEO or a board member.
- Present the gift range chart during the donor meeting.
Now, bring the gift range calculator to your meeting—it’s important to be transparent and showcase how you’ll reach your fundraising goals. Depending on the setting and the preferences of the donor, you can either print out the gift range chart or have it available on a laptop or tablet. Additionally, consider creating recognition or naming opportunities for the top tiers of the fundraising gift pyramid.
Using your Gift Range Chart in Donor Meetings
When it’s time to discuss a potential gift, start by sharing the campaign goal with the donor and explaining how their contribution can make a significant impact on your nonprofit.
Then, present the levels of gift range chart. You can choose between two methods: asking for a specific gift amount or suggesting a gift within a range, such as “Would you consider a gift in the range of x to y?” The gift chart helps illustrate the impact their contribution will have on the overall goal, and for some donors, it may even inspire them to give more.
Additionally, the gift range chart provides context, and as you secure major gifts and the remaining goal shrinks, it can demonstrate to donors in lower giving ranges what their gift can accomplish.
Other Considerations When Discussing a Gift Range Chart with Your Donors
Remember that the gift range calculator is a flexible tool. If you secure a lead gift that exceeds expectations, you can adjust your giving levels for future donors accordingly. This flexibility is particularly useful when your organization has more donor prospects at specific levels of the gift range chart.
Plus, the gift range chart can assist when you’re uncertain about the amount to ask for. By showing the donor the recommended amounts, you can open a dialogue about giving, allowing the donor to identify the range they are comfortable with. There may be instances when the gift table facilitates a discussion, enabling the donor to indicate the range they would consider and the optimal timing for their gift.
Now that you understand the benefits of using a gift range calculator, create one for each of your fundraising initiatives. Leverage the tool to assess the achievability of your goals with your current donor prospects. Test the possibilities by using our free fundraising gift range calculator.
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