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View Fund Raising Rules of Thumb


1.  $240 billion was given to NPO’s in 2003.  85% was given by individuals (living & bequest)  according to “Giving USA – 2004” pub by the American Association of Fundraising Council.  80%+ was given to religious organizations.

2.  20% of the individual donors give 80% of the gifts.  The other 80% give the other 20% (actually 30% give the other 20% and 50% give next-to-nothing).

3.  “Rule of Thirds”
    a.  10 donors account for the first 3rd of funds raised
    b.  Next 100 account for the next 3rd raised
    c.  All the remaining donors account for the final 3rd.

4.  Rule of Thumb:  “donors in the lowest income levels give the highest % of their income; don’ors in the highest income levels give the lowest % of their income.”

5.  For every $1 a person gives through the mail,
    a.  They will give $10 over the phone
    b.  And $100 in person.
    c.  On-line Giving - While still small, is the fastest growing area of giving.  On average, people give 20% more than what they’d give by mail
when people have an opportunity to plan, they always give more.

6.  Have an advisory committee
    a.  The chair should be able to give generously and ask others to do the same
    b.  Ask board members to give and to give names of others who could give
    c.  Give feedback to the plan and process.

7.  Sort potential donors by 3 types:
    a.  Suspects: have not given in the past bur are thought to have the ability if interested and involved.  For every 3 suspects, you’ll find one good prospect.
    b.  Prospects: have given in the past but not at the major gift level.  For every 3-4 suspects, you’ll find one major gift.
    c.  Leads: have given a major gift in the past and have the ability to repeat

8.  Understand the “Life Cycle of Donors”
    a.  Age 25-50 – participate in annual gifts
    b.  Age 50-70 – participate in major gifts
    c.  Age 70+—participate in planned gifts

9.  Fundraising Plan – Documents:
    a.  Mission Statement
    b.  Vision Statement
    c.  Long-Range Plan
    d.  Case Statement – why this mission merits donor support
    e.  Fund-raising Plan for 1-3 years
    f.  Ethics statement

10.  How to talk with potential donors:
    a.  LISTEN – to their story, ask open-ended questions, listen to their passions and interests…
    b.  Relationship building should be 75% of your time with them.
    c.  Build trust
    d.  Communicate – give correct information and let them know how they will stay informed about their giving and the impact of their gift.
    e.  Engage them - have them visit to see and experience who and what they’re investing in.
    f.  Set up an appointment by saying: “I’d like to visit with you about your level of involvement with our organization…”  I’m available at ____ and ______ on day – would one of those times work for you?”
    g.  Invite them to special events (all the better if it’s directly related to what they’re investing in)
    h.  Thank them frequently (and in various appropriate ways)
    i.  Plan – what next steps need to be taken with them
    j.  ASK – after determining their interest in your mission, engaging them in what they’ll be investing in, building a personal relationship, and determining what they’d be able to give, be specific and ASK: “Would you be willing to give a gift to Planting a new church at the $10,000 level?”
    i.  After you ask, BE SILENT and let them speak next…  (Whoever speaks next, loses)

11.  Reasons for Failure in Fund Raising (Public Management Institute, 1978)
    a.  Not asking for the gift
    b.  Not asking for a large enough gift
    c.  Not listening – talking too much
    d.  Not asking questions
    e.  Talking about the organization and its approach rather than about the benefits to its clients
    f.  Not being flexible, and not having alternative to offer the prospect
    g.  Not knowing the prospect before the solicitation
    h.  Forgetting to summarize before moving on
    i.  Not having prearranged signals between solicitation team members
    j.  Asking for the gift too soon
    k.  Speaking rather than remaining silent after asking for the gift
    l.  Settling on the first offer that a prospect suggests, even if it’s lower than expected
    m.  Not cultivating the donor before soliciting
    n.  Not send out trained solicitors

Category:Development - Tools for Growth & Administrative Systems