If you want more money from donors, you have to ask.  Ask them to increase their support through a higher average contribution amount or more frequent giving. Is it a priority for your organization?  After all, your current donors are your nonprofit’s biggest asset. The methods and strategy you’ll use for upgrading donors are similar whether you are soliciting a top donor at his/her home, or asking a low-dollar donor via the mail, the phone, or online.

How do you compel donors to increase their support?

First, it is helpful to take a step back and think about the reasons why donors upgrade. 

Why Donors Upgrade

  1. … because they believe they are making a difference. 

Keep focused on your mission and make sure your donors realize just how important they are to its success.

  1. … they trust your organization. 

It is important that you show donors how you are using their money smartly, and be honest and transparent. 

  1. … because you’ve cultivated a relationship with them. 

Good stewardship includes thanking donors for their gifts, and reporting back on the impact of their gifts. It also means listening to donors and asking for their opinion and feedback. Donors want to feel like they part of your team. They want to be valued, and heard.

  1. … you have shared a big vision with them. 

Your donors are inspired to be a part of an organization that is transformational. Even the smallest organizations need to think big to inspire bigger gifts! 

  1. The number one reason donors upgrade is because you ask them to.  

So ask!

How to Ask Your Donors to Upgrade

Before directly asking for an upgrade, make sure you have followed these other steps. Here are 4 steps to take to compel donors to upgrade: 

  1. Thank your donors for their past support. Make sure your donor feels appreciated and valued for their previous support.
  2. Show donors how they have made an impact because of their support. Be as specific as you can. For example, “With your $X contribution, you’re going to feed X more children this Thanksgiving.” 
  3. Explain why you are asking for more money.  Your donors need a reason to give more. Be sure this ties your larger vision and mission. 
  4. Ask! Whether you are asking in person, on the phone, or through the mail, make the ask. Don’t be afraid to be direct and specific. 

Techniques to Inspire Upgrades

There a number of techniques that can nudge donors to increase their support. 

Giving Societies & Benefits

Giving societies can be successful because they foster a feeling of community for donors. Plus, when you offer exclusive benefits at different giving levels, donors feel valued and feel part of something special. These giving level benefits can often inspire a donor to increase their support to get to a higher level. 

Special Campaign or Project

Asking for an upgrade for a new campaign, building, or a certain project can be very successful.  

Matching Gift

Matching gifts tend to inspire larger gifts because it is an opportunity to make that gift go even farther. 

Monthly Giving Program

This can be a very impactful upgrade strategy, particularly for lower dollar donors. By recruiting donors to become a monthly donor, you will see higher giving, higher renewal rates, and lower costs. 

Cultivate, Inspire, Thank.  And ASK! You  – and your donors – will be glad you did.