It’s a universal truth in the nonprofit business that budgets and funding needs grow year-over-year. Program costs change and new initiatives add pressure to already stretched resources and dollars. On top of that, the cost of running the business–staff, rent, technology, utilities, etc.–rarely goes down.
The annual budget planning process invariably results in a larger revenue line deemed necessary to keep the doors open. The options to raise more money are, with a few variables, pretty standard: find more donors and increase the average gift size. The latter can seem daunting for development officers but remember the formula: capacity + propensity + affinity = your ideal donor.
You know which donors have an affinity for your mission and the propensity to give, but the key to unlocking larger gifts is to understand a donor’s funding capacity by thinking outside the bank.
There are at least two avenues that can yield higher dollar gifts, and by focusing your approach (and potentially stepping out of your comfort zone), you can realize a larger return, strengthen your relationships with major donors, and help you reach your fundraising goals.
1) Look for existing donors with donor-advised funds (DAFs):
The dollars held in DAFs are significant, growing steadily, and already set aside for charity. National Philanthropic Trust estimates the average value of an individual DAF account to be $235,000. A donor who uses a DAF is not a small-time checkbook philanthropist. These donors have strategic, long-term plans and a pool of invested assets to donate. It’s your job as a fundraiser to tap your DAF donors as a source of substantial giving.
2) Consider illiquid assets:
Big assets = big gifts, so it’s important not to fear the illiquid asset conversation. Fielding an inquiry from a donor about a possible gift of real estate doesn’t have to take any longer than explaining to someone where to send a check. But the return can be much, much greater. Experts are available to help facilitate these gifts in a way that can ease the process and minimize the administrative burden. When a potential donor calls about a large non-cash gift, simply express your gratitude and offer to bring in an expert like us to assist.
As competition for charitable dollars increases every year, the same old fundraising methods simply aren’t enough. Nonprofits need to evolve their practices and consider these larger funding opportunities if they hope to stay ahead of the budget realities of their programs long-term.
Feel free to contact us at the Acadia Squam Group to discuss these ideas further.
 National Philanthropic Trust’s “2018 DAF Report”.