ARE YOUR FINGERS CROSSED?
Do you rock along throughout the year implementing fundraising strategies – per your development plan – with your fingers crossed that the number and sizes of donations received will reach the fundraising goal?
I’m sure you’ve heard that “hope” isn’t a plan. Well, neither are “crossed fingers.”
Remember Covey’s admonition to “begin with the end in mind?”
I recommend replacing “crossed fingers” with a definition of the end point
– a gift range table.
As you probably know, gift range tables project the number of gifts by size required to reach a particular fundraising goal. (See sample table here.)
We always use gift range tables in feasibility studies and capital campaigns.
How about using them in annual fundraising too?
Gift range tables:
- Provide a systematic view of gifts required in comparison to donors available
- Help determine whether a goal is reasonable and attainable, given the donor base
- Allow us to associate specific donors with specific gift levels to confirm whether we have an appropriate ratio of potential donors to the number of donations needed
- Identify donor and gift level gaps that could prevent reaching the goal
- Demonstrate the feasibility of fundraising goals to organization leaders
- Focus our attention on specific donors and donor levels where the most cultivation is needed
- Help us think strategically about the capacity and interests of donors within each gift level – and plan appropriate cultivation
Far better than the old and tired “thermometer,” a gift range table, converted to a pyramid, demonstrates progress toward the goal in increments that matter – the numbers of donors/gifts and sizes required. (See sample pyramid here.)
The shape of any particular donor pyramid is dictated by the type of cause and existing donor base. In fact, the pyramid can reflect a nice balanced triangle, indicating the traditional ratios of small to large gifts. Conversely, it can be wide and flat with many more small gifts than large ones. Or, the pyramid can be tall and slender with fewer small gifts and more mid-range and high-end gifts.