7 steps to calculating big gifts

May 13, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

It takes a lot of work to raise a major gift, so much so that it isn’t always easy to estimate how big the gift will be.

In his book “The Nonprofit Fundraising Solution” Laurence A. Pagnoni writes that it is important to have a figure in mind when soliciting a donor for a major gift. That figure can be a firm number or a range. When it comes to preparing for a big gift, Pagnoni wrote, it is possible to calculate what a gift will be by taking certain steps. There are seven steps, and they are:

Step 1. Calculate the person’s total giving using donor history records. If there is no giving history for an individual, then use the average of the organization’s overall giving as a possible benchmark. Step 1a: If the donor is a trustee, have a total board giving number at the ready.

Step 2. Document the amount of the donor’s largest individual gift.

Step 3. Add the amount of the donor’s largest gift to the average total giving.

Step 4. Increase the total amount of the donor’s highest gift by 50 percent to ascertain that level of possible giving.

Step 5. Secure the informal rating of peers or colleagues concerning the donor’s inclination to give.

Step 6. Research the donor’s past giving to other charitable causes.

Step 7. Examine the numbers generated from steps 3 through 6. Use these to determine the range of giving you are prepared to request.