Why focusing on dollars could be a huge mistake

06.08.2011By

Your supporters want nothing more than to believe in their heart of hearts that the cause your org fights for comes way before fundraising targets.

But all too often, organizations shatter this dream by being overly focused on numbers.

I’m sure you’ve heard examples of organizations that won’t accept donations under a certain dollar amount. Or organizations who won’t send out a “thank you” letter to donors who contributed less than a specific amount.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it overlooks three things that are critical to long-term fundraising success:

  1. The life-time value of a single donor – How much will that person donate over the course of their lives. Many rich people were once very poor.
  2. The social value of a single donor – Not just how influential they are on Twitter, but how interested they are in your cause.
  3. The sincerity of a single donor – Sincerity is the essential language of your cause and the key to amplifying participation.

When $100 is priceless

The Coalition for The Homeless recently celebrated PS 264 for raising $100.You read that right – $100. Not $100,000 or even $1,000. $100.

This gesture of gratitude reassures other grass-roots fundraisers that their sincere generosity – regardless of dollar amounts – matters.

Social fundraising means fostering this culture of inspired generosity so that hundreds will take that first huge but critical step with them as fundraisers: Participation

  • Well said John!  For more ideas on how to create lifetime donors check out my free ebook, the Lifetime Donor Attraction System: http://www.pamelagrow.com/1462/free-ebook-lifetime-donor-attraction-system/

    • Thanks Pamela! For readers here who might not have the time to download the ebook, can you share one or two nuggets?

  • Well said John!u00a0 For more ideas on how to create lifetime donors check out my free ebook, the Lifetime Donor Attraction System: http://www.pamelagrow.com/1462/free-ebook-lifetime-donor-attraction-system/

    • Thanks Pamela! For readers here who might not have the time to download the ebook, can you share one or two nuggets?

  • KacyMaxwell

    Completely agree. I just wrote a post similar to this about my experience with Charity: Water and got some great feedback from them. I think you would like it.

    I think that a lot of charities don’t realize the impact of a single donor or a single donation. Your #2 point is perfect. You could have someone who has thousands of followers tweet once and moves on or one with a couple hundred that shares regularly. It’s all about persistence when it comes to longevity. Great post John.

  • Anonymous

    Completely agree. I just wrote a post similar to this about my experience with Charity: Water and got some great feedback from them. I think you would like it. nnI think that a lot of charities don’t realize the impact of a single donor or a single donation. Your #2 point is perfect. You could have someone who has thousands of followers tweet once and moves on or one with a couple hundred that shares regularly. It’s all about persistence when it comes to longevity. Great post John.

  • Great post and an interesting case study with the celebration for $100. I’ll be passing this along to my board of directors with a suggestion that we pay more attention to smaller targets as well.

  • Great post and an interesting case study with the celebration for $100. I’ll be passing this along to my board of directors with a suggestion that we pay more attention to smaller targets as well.

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