Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Does a small gift make a difference? (Nicole Wilken)

A fundraising pyramid is a helpful visual to understand the distribution of donors for a campaign or program. Depending on the goal of the project, the “rungs” on the pyramid may be different amounts, but most campaigns are comprised of many small donations and a few major gifts (see below). In SALT’s World Relief Campaigns, which are historically between $12,000 and $15,000, donations of $5 or $10 make up the foundation for our fundraising with a fewer number of donors contributing in the hundreds of dollars. Both small and large donors are essential for the success of our campaign. Because VU students are one of our main target demographics, the “broke college kid” effect takes hold. Even though we have many donors who can only contribute a few dollars to our campaign, the quantity of this type of donor makes it a significant part of our fundraising on campus. On the other hand, having the continued significant support of many professors and community members from previous campaigns allows us to have some flexibility to focus on our outreach and events.
Even for large campaigns, small donations are necessary to get people invested in the project. And, in future years, the donors who continue to feel appreciated by the organization are motivated to invest further. Oftentimes, donors will not jump in as a major donor. Building that relationship with the project and organization takes time to develop. In SALT, we make sure that donors of all categories know that their gifts are making an impact and that they are appreciated. Don’t treat "first rung" donors like they are at the bottom of the pile.

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