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Fundraising Strategy: The Gift Range Chart [With Templates!]

The success of your fundraising campaign relies on whether or not your nonprofit has put in the time to develop a comprehensive, data-driven fundraising strategy. With the right fundraising plan in place, the more likely you’ll be able to extend the right asks to reach likely donors and achieve your fundraising goals. The secret to an excellent fundraising strategy? Consider making the most of a gift range chart. Commonly used during the feasibility study phase of capital campaigns, gift range charts are useful tools for fundraising campaigns of any size. With this simple tool, you’ll learn exactly what it will take to successfully reach your fundraising goals.  Even better? Your gift range chart can show your nonprofit where you need to improve in your fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy. Before your campaign begins, you’ll be able determine the optimal size of your asks, the breakdown of your ideal prospects, and which donors you should be engaging. In this post, we’ll help you get the most out of your gift range chart by discussing:
  1. Why you should use a gift range chart.
  2. How to structure your gift range chart.
  3. DonorSearch’s gift range chart template.
Are you ready to learn how to use gift range charts to bring your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy to the next level? Let’s get started!

1. Why you should use a gift range chart.

Without question, gift range charts should be a part of your fundraising strategy arsenal (if they aren’t already). Despite their deceptively simple design, gift range charts can tell you a lot about your fundraising strategy, especially if your nonprofit is looking to embark on a capital campaign. (Looking to sharpen your fundraising strategy? Consider working with a fundraising consulting firm to revamp the way your nonprofit raises money for your cause.) Specifically, gift range charts can let your nonprofit know: =&0=& =&1=&

By chris

Perfect Your Prospect Profile Templates [Free Examples]

Developing prospect profiles on your various high-quality giving candidates is a necessary step in managing a fluid transition from prospects to donors. Your prospect profiles will contain all of the relevant data you gathered during the screening process. With comprehensive profiles, your team can easily transition prospects from one person to the next, without risking miscommunication and information getting lost in the shuffle. The prospect researcher is responsible for completing as much information as possible before passing on the details to a gift officer. Once the gift officer begins the donor cultivation process, he or she then tracks any additional input and changes as the relationship develops. That way, if a new officer were to step into the role, he or she would be automatically brought up to date. Prospect profiles are going to vary from organization to organization, but we wanted to give you an idea of what to expect. With that being said, this blog post will talk you through the various components you may or may not want to include in your profiles. The level of depth for your various profiles will be largely dependent on how extensive your prospect research is and what you learn during cultivation.

DonorSearch’s Prospect Profile Template Sample is divided into seven categories.

  1. Introductory Details
  2. Basic Details
  3. Personal History
  4. Familial Information
  5. Professional Affiliations
  6. Organizational Connections
  7. Philanthropic Ties
Let’s discuss each of these one-by-one.

1. Introductory Details

This category is largely designed to quickly catch a reader up on the current status of the prospect. Its sections include:
  • Prospect Name
  • Date
  • Giving Status
  • Past Interactions
  • Next Moves
Whenever a prospect is interacted with, that should be noted here and future plans should be listed under “Next Moves.” If someone were to briefly open the profile, you want that person to be able to read through these first five sections and recognize where in the donor pipeline the given prospect falls.

2. Basic Details

Basic details are essentially contact information. Its sections include:
  • Full Name
  • Nickname
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Email
  • Birthdate
It is critical that your team ensures that these fields are accurate. Successful donor communications rely on current and correct contact information. The first step to building a relationship with someone is to call them by their preferred name. Nothing will get you off on the wrong foot by calling someone by the wrong name when you’re asking for a donation. It makes them feel like you don’t care about them as a person. Special note: if you’re an advocacy organization also using an advocacy-specific CRM like CQ Engage, you might also want to keep things like social media handles and voting districts in this section. These identifiers will allow you to more easily target your donors and supporters with personalized communication strategies for region- or online-specific grassroots campaigns. These details will also make it easier for you to mobilize your advocates because they can champion your cause in their own neighborhoods with your help.

3. Personal History

As important as it is to know how to reach your donors, you have to understand them on a deeper level. That understanding begins with the personal history category. Its sections include:
  • Alma Mater(s)
  • Degrees(s)
  • Connections to Foundations
  • Real Estate Holdings
  • Public Stock Holdings
  • Social Club Memberships
  • Community Involvement
As you can ascertain from looking at the above list, personal history involves a combination of wealth markers and other characteristics that will help your fundraisers better get through to your prospects. You want to know a donor’s interests and history, as well as his or her giving capacity. The personal history category helps on both fronts.

4. Familial Information

As you can probably guess from the title, familial information is all about what details you have collected on your prospect’s families. Its sections include: 
  • Name of Spouse
  • Spouse’s Philanthropic Ties
  • Spouse’s Professional Affiliations
  • Key Details on Children
  • Key Details on Other Pertinent Relatives
The significance of familial data can change according to what kind of organization is seeking the information. Two types of fundraising programs could certainly benefit from learning more about their prospects’ families. Those programs are: Each piece of data broadens the scope of the level of personalization your organization can cover when communicating with a prospect. Your nonprofit should know a spouse’s name, so that you can address invites to the couple, rather than your donor and guest, for example. Your donors’ families are important to them. They should be important to your nonprofit too.

5. Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations, just like familial information, can render pivotal details. Its sections include:
  • Employer
  • Employer Address
  • Position
  • Work Email
  • Work Phone Number
  • Estimated Salary
  • Years with Employer
  • Relevant Employment History
  • Relevant Business Contacts
With professional affiliations right in front of you, you can not only gain a firmer understanding of a prospect’s giving capacity, but also uncover potentially valuable connections. One of your board members, for instance, could work with a high-quality prospect. When you realize that, you can then ask your board member to make an introduction for you. Additionally, a donor might be employed by a company with a generous corporate giving program. Imagine the potential gift size if you notify a major gift donor that their contribution will gladly be matched by their company! Some companies also offer volunteer grant gifts, which would donate funds to your organization based on hours that an employee has spent as a volunteer for your nonprofit. As you can tell, the opportunities stemming from researching this list of facts for a donor are varied and plentiful.

6. Organizational Connections

This is the point in the profile where you delve into exactly what motivates your prospects’ philanthropy and how strong their bonds with your specific cause and nonprofit are. Its sections include:
  • Date of Last Gift
  • Amount of Last Gift
  • Total Number of Donations
  • Average Gift Size
  • Board Membership
  • Hours Volunteered
  • Relationships with Others Involved in Your Organization
For a brand new prospect, this category might be completely blank. You’ll want to revisit it as you cultivate the prospect and the prospect becomes more engaged in your organization. Past giving is the strongest indicator of future giving

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By chris

Timeline for a Capital Campaign: 3 Fundamental Stages

If your nonprofit is looking to take on a substantial project or construct a new building in the future, you might need to start planning a capital campaign. Because capital campaigns can sometimes extend for years, you’ll need to establish a timeline to help you and your team stay on track while you plan and raise money for your nonprofit’s project.

Below, you’ll find a general timeline for a capital campaign.

Here are the three core stages of any effective capital campaign:
  1. Planning
  2. Implementing
  3. Following up
Naturally, your capital campaign may have fewer or more steps depending on how much money you’re trying to raise and how much time you have. Use these steps as a beginning template and add or subtract as necessary. And for more information, check out our Breakthrough Guide to Capital Campaigns

1. Planning

Planning for a capital campaign is no small feat. It involves the coordination and cooperation of many different individuals, departments, and committees. We’ve extensively covered the planning of a capital campaign in another article, but we’ll go over the basics now.

Assemble a capital campaign planning team.

Think of your capital campaign as ship out at sea. A ship can’t get from point A to point B without a crew of people. Each individual has their own part to play and without cohesion, the ship would quickly devolve into mutiny. Your capital campaign can’t steer itself. You need a dedicated crew to help take it from one harbor to the next. Cheesy ship metaphors aside, a capital campaign team or committee relies on a solid base to help lead it to success. This base is usually comprised of the following individuals:
  • Board members
  • Staff or faculty
  • Community volunteers
Your capital campaign committee can also breakup into smaller subcommittees depending on the size and scope of your project. However you decide to segment your committee, make sure that everyone meets regularly and is on the same page going forward.

Set a goal, deadline, and budget for your capital campaign.

Capital campaigns are centered around raising a specific amount of money in a certain timeframe. Therefore, before you start raising any money, make sure that you set a reasonable financial goal and deadline. Additionally, you’ll need to set a budget for the various expenses that will occur during the planning and fundraising process.

Complete a feasibility study.

A feasibility study should be completed during the planning process to determine whether or not the capital campaign will actually be successful. A feasibility study can be conducted in-house or can make use of an outside consultant. Either way, it involves the interviewing of 30 to 40 individuals to determine whether or not the capital campaign can raise the needed funds in the allotted time. These interviewees can range from board members to general members of the community. The group should include past major gifts donors as well as other fundraising prospects.

Conduct a prospect screening to get started.

Capital campaigns rely heavily on major gift donors. In fact, before the campaign is open to the public, up to 70% of the funds should already be received thanks to these major gift donors. In order to determine who you should solicit for donations, you should conduct a prospect screening. Prospect research can help you tailor your asks to various donors and uncover hidden major gift contributors. With prospect research, you have basic information like names and addresses as well as complex data like past giving history and business affiliations. Prospect research can help your capital campaign get off on the right foot!

2. Implementing

After carefully planning and preparing for your capital campaign, it’s time to put all that hard work into action! Implementing a capital campaign takes place in two phases. We’ll cover each of those stages separately.

The Quiet Phase

No, this is not the part of the capital campaign that requires you to whisper all the time. It’s actually more like a soft opening for your fundraising efforts. Let me explain. In order to gain massive public support (and donations!) for your capital campaign, your nonprofit has to show that others have already donated. People won’t donate to a project that they think will fail; the quiet phase of a capital campaign is when you rally your biggest supporters behind you. During this stage, the members of your capital campaign committee will be soliciting major gift donors, corporations, and government agencies for substantial donations. Make sure that each individual is well-versed in proper etiquette for asking for donations.

The Public Phase

After you’ve received donations and pledges from your various major gift donors and local corporations, it’s time to enter the public phase. The public phase of your capital campaign is when you will solicit a large amount of smaller donations from members of the community. The public phase usually begins with a kickoff ceremony. If your capital campaign is building related, you could host the kickoff at the building site to show attendees what your proposed plan is. The kickoff event doesn’t necessarily have to be a fundraising event, but some people may want to give donations after getting excited about the campaign. Make sure that you have ways for people to donate at your event. The rest of the public phase will require broad outreach tactics to help you reach your financial goal within the deadline.

3. Following Up

Congratulations! You’ve successfully planned and implemented your capital campaign. You’ve raised the money to pay for a large project or initiative. You can finally rest, right? Not until you follow up with donors! Following up with donors after a capital campaign can take several forms. Let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Saying thank you

Gertrude Stein once said that, “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” She has a point! You should vocally and publicly recognize the people who helped you reach your goal. Saying thanks to your donors will largely depend on the amount of the donation and your relationship with that donor. If you receive a large contribution from a regular supporter, you should publicly and privately thank that individual for their donation. Perhaps this thanks could take place at the kickoff event or at a closing ceremony. Additionally, you’ll need to send out thank you letters, cards, or emails to the rest of your supporters. No gift should go un-thanked. A capital campaign can’t be successful without the generosity of your donors. Finally, you’ll need to show appreciation to your committee members. After months and maybe even years of hard work and planning, they deserve more than a pat on the back. Make sure that you properly thank everyone that had a hand in soliciting major gift donors, corporations, and other individual supporters.

Keeping donors updated

People rarely like donating to a cause or project and then ignoring it. It’s your nonprofit’s job to keep donors updated on the project and show them how their contributions have affected your nonprofit. These updates can take the form of:
  • Special events for major gift donors.
  • Newsletters and emails.
  • A ceremony after the project is complete.
  • Phone calls to major gift donors.
However you plan on communicating progress, make sure that you thank donors again to emphasize how meaningful their contributions were and how much you appreciate their continued support. And there you have it! You’re all set to plot out the various steps of your capital campaign timeline. For more information about planning a capital campaign, check out our comprehensive article with 14 in-depth steps

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By chris

14-Step Guide for Getting Started with a Capital Campaign

So, your organization needs to raise a significant amount of money for a particular project. This might be a long-awaited renovation for your organization’s headquarters or perhaps another big-ticket project that can’t be covered by your annual fundraising efforts alone. After examining all fundraising routes, you’ve determined that a capital campaign is the right way to go. Before you dive straight into fundraising, there are a number of steps that you have to take to properly plan your capital campaign. To get your capital campaign off the ground, you should: Assemble a capital campaign committee.

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By chris

The 3-Step Guide to Handling a Prospect Researcher Staff Transition

Article written by Sarah Tedesco, Executive Vice President at DonorSearch. Heraclitus said it best when he stated, “Change is the only constant.” Although it is not always welcome, the sooner we accept and embrace change, the better our lives are. That platitude, though easier to take in theory than practice, certainly applies to the way that organizations handle staff transitions. Nonprofits and educational institutions, just like any other type of employer, have to deal with important staff members leaving and the ramifications of those exits. Putting plans in place to handle and account for the transition of employees, especially senior staffers and leaders, is critical to the ongoing success of an organization. Staff turnover is inevitable. Transitional success is a matter of preparing for and adjusting to the change. For a nonprofit, one of the most valuable roles within the organization is that of the prospect researcher. When it is time to transition to a new researcher, you’ll want to be ready to make the process as smooth as possible.

The best approach to handling a prospect researcher staff transition follows three steps.

These steps cover the entire cycle of the transition. Step one should occur before the prospect researcher leaves the position, step two will happen as the transition is occurring, and step three is to be performed once the turnover is complete.

Step 1: Implement Standards and Systems

This is a preemptive step. It is helpful in general and especially useful when your organization is experiencing change. Standards and systems make a position transferable. Prospect research is an extensive process. On any given day, your current prospect researcher could be:
  • Putting together prospect profiles.
  • Ranking prospects according to giving affinity and capacity.
  • Determining the right ask amount for a certain donor.
  • Assisting the fundraisers with solicitation strategies.
  • And much more.

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