In-person ‘asks’ boost fundraising

The Philanthropy Journal had this report last week, well worth a read:

Echoing conventional wisdom in the fundraising profession, nonprofits can raise more money if donors are asked for gifts in person by people they know, says a study that examines where and why donors make their largest gifts. Donors to secular charities who were approached for a gift face-to-face by an acquaintance gave an average of $987, or 19 percent more than those contacted by an acquaintance through mail, email or phone, says the study, commissioned by Campbell & Company and conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Donors to religious organizations gave an average of $2,904, or 42 percent more when they were asked in person by someone they know. Among all donors, the average size of their largest gift was $1,098, and 43 percent of people directed those gifts to secular nonprofits, while 57 percent gave to religious groups. Among households with income of $150,000 or more, the average largest gift was $2,486, more than double the average gift size for all households.

 And while recognition for donations may boost gift amounts slightly, providing token gifts resulted in the second-lowest average gift value, the report says. “With token recognition, donors may see their contributions as transactions, but donors who receive more personal recognition better understand how their gift impacts an organization’s work,” Peter Fissinger, president of Campbell & Company, says in a statement.


2 thoughts on “In-person ‘asks’ boost fundraising

  1. I work almost exclusively with churches. My biggest obstacle is getting pastors to understand this principle. There fear is that meeting with donors one on one will come off as pressure. While that might be true if done incorrectly, done correctly, like this post shows, it leads to larger donations. There is simply nothing like one on one. This is good data to consider at a time when many are rushing to embrace Social Media as the savior of non-profits. While that field needs probing and expanding we should never forget the value of a personal touch.

    • Mark,

      Thanks a million for the comment. I think your point is spot on. I love social media but a reminder of the importance of a real personal touch is so important. I think you are right too, if it is done correctly there is nothing to be feared

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