How to Enhance a Fundraising Gift Ask

Improve your fundraising appeal by creating an impactful fundaising gift ask that inspires donations.

Determining an appropriate fundraising gift ask amount can be a daunting task. These tips, added to any fundraising appeal, will inspire giving and enhance fundraising efforts.

In last month’s newsletter, I talked about fundraising copywriting tips to inspire giving. I emphasized including the following information in your fundraising appeals:

State the problem the can donor solve. In other words, why does your organization need donations?

Offer a solution to that problem. What can the donor do to help solve the problem? How can the donor become a part of the solution?

Include a dollar value with the solution. By including a dollar value with the solution, donors will know exactly what their hard-earned dollars will accomplish, which is how you enhance a fundraising gift ask.

Enhancing a fundraising gift ask

Include a dollar value with the solution.

How to include a dollar value with the solution

Including a dollar value with the solution is accomplished by providing donors with various giving amounts and adding information about what various dollar level accomplishes.

Research tells us when donors are prompted with a specific amount they will give more, on average. They’ll give even more when offered a choice of giving levels. 

I don’t recommend ever using “please give whatever you can” or “please consider increasing your gift.” That’s vague. A vague request will not yield the donations your organization deserves.

How to enhance your fundraising gift ask

Gift ask amounts need to be ones that donors are comfortable with and that will inspire them to donate again.

For example; do not ask someone for only $25 if their last gift was $500. Likewise, asking a donor for $500 when their largest previous gift was $25 would be a disaster.

Calculating gift ask amounts for current donors

If a current donor’s last gift was $50, present them with a gift ask string of $50, $75, $100, other. The first dollar amount is the dollar value of their last gift, the $75 is 1.5 times their last gift and the $100 is 2 times their last gift.

For example; If a donor’s last gift was $50, the ask string would look like this:

$50, $75, $100, Other $_______.

Generally, it is wise to give the donor the option to write in their own gift amount at the end of the string by including a blank line.

Include what each giving level accomplishes

If you want to go a step further, include what each giving level accomplishes, by including descriptive copy, like this:

$50 will help provide kibble for hungry pups.

$75 will help provide vaccinations to keep pups healthy.

$100 will help provide veterinary care for newborn pups.

The variable gift asks above provide donors with suggested donation amounts based upon their last donation and includes information about how their donation will help. It also subliminally lets donors know that the kibble, vaccinations, and veterinary care are consumables, requiring more donations in the future.

Lapsed donor gift ask

If a lapsed donor’s last gift was $50, many non-profits present them with an ask string of $25, $50, $75, other. The first dollar amount is half the dollar value of their last gift, the middle amount, $50, is the exact value of their last gift and the $75 is 1.5 times their last gift.

By providing a lower gift amount, many nonprofits have found great success in utilizing this reactivation technique and are able to reactivate older donors back into their active donor pool.

Acquisition gift ask

Many organizations find success with a $25, $50, $100, other ask string for non-donors. However, choosing the correct gift ask varies on the type of organization. Carnegie Hall for instance can ask for a higher donation amount than a local soup kitchen. It’s always best to A/B test two or more different ask string versions in your appeal.

Where to use variable gift asks

Gift ask strings can be placed in a variety of fundraising efforts and tools such as:

Letter copy (be sure your mail house offers variable personalization).

Donation forms in direct mail packages

Email appeal copy

Landing pages

Website donation page

If you’re using a database company to maintain and prepare your donor lists for mailing or for email deployment, they should be able to apply mathematical gift string formulas, as well as the informational copy, to the various segments of your database. If you’re maintaining your file yourself, that may be more of a challenge, but not impossible.

Improve your fundraising appeals by creating effective fundraising gift ask strings that are impactful and memorable. These tips added to any fundraising appeal will most certainly increase donations for your nonprofit.

For more information or to get started on your next direct mail or email project, contact us at Write Choice Marketing. We have over 40 years of experience using compelling copywriting techniques and innovative strategies to help raise more money for your nonprofit.