Fundraising from the Bottom Up!

MMj02832430000[1]Hmmm, a new idea? Probably not, but getting back to basics isn’t a bad idea. This economy is throwing everyone off balance – organizations, donors, funders. But let’s remember, the fundraising pyramid is the most balanced and solid figure ($$ ha ha) we know. Without a base to the pyramid, we got nuttin’.

Bottom of the pyramid is the point of entry for the majority of donors. I get it takes longer to raise money with small gifts than larger ones – but many small gifts is better than fewer or no large gifts…right? And in this economy, we should welcome old and new donors willing to support us at a level that works for them. (Again a fundraising basic.) But with the stress of the economy, we are urgently seeking funds and sometimes forget the basics. Please tell me if you think I am wrong.

Fundraising Idea

MMj03237570000[1]Ask for gifts $50 and under. This seems to be the magic number these days. While some donors may have been giving more in the past, we are operating in a new space. I would certainly welcome a contribution from a current donor at an amount comfortable to them. Keeping them as a donor is more important than allowing them to lapse because they can no longer maintain their higher level of giving. (Fundraising basic) The alternative would be to lose them as a donor. In addition, in this economy, many people are still working. And because of the philanthropic nature of our country, they are giving to support those less fortunate. So let’s get those new donors in the door and keep those we have!

  • Launch a campaign for $30, $40 or $50 gifts to raise X dollars to do something
    • Do you have an anniversary coming up to tie it to?
    • What can you do programmatically with those amounts?
    • Let them know every gift makes a difference
    • Ask them to ask others




Chicago’s WBEZ Campaign for $20

I am the first one to say, “They have the radio waves to make this work.” However, we all have the ability to translate our work at changing lives and saving lives into $20 increment and we should. It isn’t necessary to have all the bells and whistles of their campaign, just be clear, urgent and to the point. 

layout2_02And while you are checking out their Campaign for $20, look at their Five to Five Campaign brilliantly engaging listeners and utilizing the social media. Again, you don’t need the radio to make this work, but you do have to have a

Chicago DramatistsGive $30 to Celebrate 30 Years of Chicago Dramatists

Simple campaign, you get the idea. In less than two months they have raised 30year$31,792 from 266 donors, old and new. Their goal is 500 donors and they have raised $31,792 they didn’t have before. It is a rallying cry and an opportunity for conversation. They are finding donors and prospects are able to make a $30 contribution in this economy and some are giving more.

Back to basics people. It isn’t a bad thing. If we can keep the donors we love and open the door to new donors we are continuing to build our fundraising pyramid in good and bad economic times.

Let me know what you are doing to engage, keep and raise money!

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