The Relationship between Giving Levels and Donor Retention

Posted on 05/21/2014

Robert_Fitzsimmons_imageRobert “Ruby” Fitzsimmons was a born in Ireland in 1863. The youngest of 12 children, he grew up to be the first three-division world boxing champion, winning the Middle Weight, Heavy Weight, and Light Heavy Weight titles.

He was known for his dislike of training (preferring “real” fights) and intimidating opponents by talking “trash.” In 1900 he told a newspaper, “The bigger they are, the further they have to fall.” While this may have held true for Ruby Robert, the same can’t be said for annual giving.

Before we solicit a prospective donor, it’s important to determine an appropriate ask amount. We should start by considering their capacity (i.e., how much they could afford to give if properly motivated) and their inclination (i.e., level of interest in supporting the organization).

Sometimes fundraisers shy away from high ask amounts for fear that it will be off-putting to the prospect. In annual giving, where the goal is to establish a reliable stream of ongoing support, some worry that high asks will decrease the likelihood of future gifts. In fact, the opposite is true.

Larger Gifts Are More SustainableThe above chart (compliments of Target Analytics) shows gift renewal rates across an array of gift bands. It’s clear that, as the size of the gift increases, so does the likelihood that it will be renewed. The inverse is just as important to consider. That is, the smaller the gift size, the less likely it will be renewed.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you step into the ring.

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