The Donation Maximization Blog

Why Asking for the Right Amount Beats Asking for More



It stands to reason that an organization would seek the highest amount that a donor feels comfortable giving. But for many in the development world, this otherwise productive impulse can translate to an open-ended request (“give as much as you can”) or something worse—asking for more than your donor has the capacity or willingness to give.

Like private sector customers, donors—including returning donors—must be courted and convinced to give in accordance with the amount they are willing to give. This number isn’t fixed by any means, as it can fluctuate depending on the nature of the ask. Which means that, for those in the fundraising world, it is important when seeking increased donation amounts not to simply ask for more, but to ask for the right amount.

Barriers to ‘More’

The challenge then becomes to understand more about each donor before soliciting a donation. With returning donors, this can seem deceptively simple given that you’ll likely have access to more complete, high-quality data. This is why so many organizations opt to determine how much to ask for by using a simple algorithm along the lines of:

70% x (Maximum Gift Amount) + (30% x (Last Contribution Amount)) x 120% = New Ask Amount

The goal here is to get MORE—but simply asking a donor to increase their donation may create a psychological barrier to giving. In 2007, the Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) revealed that nearly 65 percent of donors declined to increase their donations because they were happy with the amounts that they had already contributed.

Other respondents indicated that the way the requests were made were their primary barrier to increased donation—with 34 percent of those surveyed reporting this as the reason they didn’t give more. This shows that the nature of a solicitation is an essential component in whether that solicitation proves successful.

Satisfaction Through Personalization

“To give money, people need to then be satisfied with the ways that organizations treat them as supporters,” explained Jen Shang, a philanthropic psychologist speaking to The New York Times about the psychology of fundraising solicitation. One of the factors that come into play when treating donors in ways that generate increased donations is through the use of personalized ask amounts.

Personalized ask amounts can be determined using a predictive analytics solution that determines how much to ask of each individual on a campaign list by measuring each donor’s internal threshold and willingness to give. Pairing a donation request with a specific, personalized ask amount is paramount to ensuring your organization respects each donor’s unique internal process for deciding how much to contribute to a cause.

That is why roughly 50 percent more people will donate when a specific donation amount is suggested, rather than merely being presented an open-ended field for the dollar amount.

Easy-to-use prescriptive analytics software like ExactAsk uses donor-specific information in search of trends, patterns and associations. The result for development teams is a scientifically probable ask amount based on a wide breadth of factual information that is likely to maximize donation amounts successfully.

The use of personalized ask amounts has also been shown to significantly increase the lifetime value of individual donors.

Want to find out more about how you can use personalized ask amounts to get more out of your donor base? Contact us to request a demo.

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Your First Step Toward Maximizing DONOR REVENUE

Merely matching your donors to a generic “profile” is no longer enough. Your organization deserves better accuracy driven by better technology.

Backed by science, ExactAsk’s sophisticated algorithms determine the most precise ask amount for your fundraising campaigns.

With a few clicks of your mouse, you can start influencing exactly how much your current donors give.