Simple Steps That Can Improve Your Annual Fund

Finding new major donors imageLet me guess, your budget requires you to increase the amount you raise through your annual fund. Since this will probably be a yearly trend, consider adding in a few simple steps each year – for a dramatic cumulative effect. Here is a list of things you can do to improve your outcome. Pick from the suggestions below or create your own plan (this is far from a comprehensive list) but don’t hope for different results, or even comparable results, without additional efforts.

What can you do?

  1. Target a larger portion of your list for specific asks. This could actually be two sections:
    • Increase the letters that go out with specific dollar amounts discovered through your newfound knowledge; and/or
    • Pick out 10 people who have only received letters but you know to be giving well below their potential and set up individual meetings.
  2. Consider how you can increase your appeal list. Is now the time to purchase a list from another organization or list broker? Are you continually considering ways to openly collect information from event participants? Would a give-away or raffle that collects names, addresses and email addresses increase your list size?
  3. Create email campaigns and a specific schedule that works as inexpensive reminders in addition to any and all mailings.
  4. Make sure you are connecting with donors at multiple points throughout the year and not just when you are asking for money. Can you think of two new ways you can touch the majority of donors without substantially impacting staff and resources?
  5. Encourage monthly giving. It is often easier to give 12 payments of $100 than one payment of $1000.
  6. Look at anyone who has remained at the same level for years on end. Since they seem to be a committed donor, they might just need to be asked in a different way to give more. Get creative in ways they can contribute more without feeling overburdened.
  7. Consider the long-term effect of any and all changes. The cumulative impact over five years of adding 25 new donors each year could mean a new program, new hire or something as simple as an increased base of loyal supporters to engage in a capital campaign.

Get working. The only way to improve next fiscal year is to start now. And, as always, please let us know if Mersky, Jaffe & Associates can be of assistance.