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Asking Donors for more

There’s a principle in fundraising that we would like to look at more closely: asking for more than one thing.

The principle is that if your direct mail appeal asks a donor or prospect for $100, the reply coupon better reflect the same. More than that, you want to be careful about how many decisions you’re asking the donor to make within this one mailing: are you asking them for their email address? How they’d like to receive their charitable tax receipt? Whether they’ve left you a gift in their will? Is it possible each of those decisions combined might overwhelm them and lessen their likelihood of responding with a gift? Yes.

There’s no question you have to be careful with your reply device and ensure it makes giving easy.


The truth is that you can expect a percentage of new-to-file donors to covert to monthly in the mail. And since we know that monthly donors have a higher lifetime value to your organization than one-time gift donors do, we have to give them the opportunity to give monthly. If we don’t, we are – in the long-term – negatively impacting our revenue. Donors give because they are asked, so we have to ask them right.

That being said, not all will convert to monthly, so if you ask for only one thing, you won’t necessarily get what you want.

So we’ve tested this here at Blakely: What if we asked for monthly giving first, with the option to make a one-time gift beneath it? Neither of them were buried on the back of the coupon; they were both on the front.

Guess what the results were? We doubled the numbers of donors converting to monthly and one-time giving did not go down… in fact, it was lifted!

Test it out for your own organization! There’s no question we need to streamline the giving process for our donors, but it seems like we can indeed ask them for more than one thing.

Try it for yourself!

Love from your Fundraising Strategist team!