Quick poll: while fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, who among you has written a fundraising letter or email, posted a Facebook ask, or made an in-person request and used some version of the following statement: “Please donate whatever amount you’re comfortable with.”
It’s true that every donation made to the Komen 3-Day—no matter the amount—is important and will make an impact in the fight against breast cancer. But experience has shown us that asking your donors to give a specific amount is a more successful fundraising tactic than the “whatever you’re comfortable with” route. Here’s why:
An Unmistakable Call to Action – People like to be given directions. When you ask for 3-Day® donations in a specific amount, you give your donors a clear instruction to act on, which will make them more likely to donate right away. Putting a deadline on your request is another great way to motivate your donors to give without delay.
Aim High, Land High – For the past several years, I’ve straight-up asked my donors for $100 donations in my initial fundraising emails. I make no apologies for it, and I remind my donors that my job as a 3-Day walker, first and foremost, is to raise as much money as I can for Susan G. Komen®. I make this request knowing full well that many of my donors will not donate that much. But what I’m really doing is setting an expectation. Asking for a large amount says to my donors, “This is important, and your part in it is important.” Sometimes it works and I see those hundred dollar donations hit my account, but even if the donor is not willing or able to give that much, they will still end up giving as much as they can. On the other hand, back when I used to say, “Any amount is okay,” I found that donors would often give far less.
Attention-Grabbing Gimmicks Work – Last year, I sent out a fundraising email two weeks before my 37th birthday, challenging my supporters to help me raise 37 donations of $37 each before my big day. The amount I asked for was very specific, very manageable, and since the birthday angle tied to it was personal to me, it was highly appealing to my friends and family members. The response I got from donors was immediate and generous; I raised over $1300 in less than 2 weeks, based on this tactic alone. If I had thrown out a request that said, “Please make a donation in any amount in honor of my birthday” I can’t imagine the ploy would have been as successful. Click here to find some other fundraising strategies that incorporate specific donation amounts.