Published November 22, 2023
When you’re setting up a fundraiser for your organization, it can be difficult to know how to handle donation requests. After all, it’s always a bit of a sensitive subject when you’re asking others for money. Although there’s no exact formula, you can learn how to determine amounts for donation requests by considering a few important factors.
Keep in mind that the foundation of fundraising is working with other people, so you’ll need to maintain a unique balance to achieve your desired outcome. No matter what type of fundraiser you’re organizing, you’ll be able to clearly define—and hopefully surpass—your goal once you know exactly how much money you need.
Consider Your Donors
When determining the amounts for donation requests, you should consider the characteristics of your primary donors. Whenever possible, ensure your requests are aligned with your donors’ socioeconomic statuses. In other words, it doesn’t make sense to ask for a large sum of money if you know your target audience has limited resources.
Additionally, you should think about whether your potential pool of donors has supported your causes in the past. If you’re confident these individuals are passionate about your fundraising objectives and want to help as much as possible, you can increase your donation requests. Conversely, if this is your first fundraising effort for a particular organization, or you’re not familiar with the potential donors, it may be beneficial to set lower amounts.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to organize fundraisers, it’s essential to understand your audience to know how to determine amounts for donation requests. It’s also helpful to ask anyone who has previously spearheaded a similar fundraiser for an appropriate starting point. You don’t want to alienate donors by asking for too much money, but you also don’t want to fail to reach your goal by asking for too little.
Determine Your Goal
Before you establish donation amounts, it’s crucial to determine your overall fundraising goal. After all, it’s almost impossible to know how much money to request if you don’t have a clear goal in mind. You could simply ask for as much money as possible, but that’s not realistic or effective. Collaborate with other leaders of your group or organization to decide on a goal for your campaign. When doing so, it’s important to keep in mind your target donors, how the funds will be used, whether you have other fundraisers planned for the year, and other relevant factors.
While you’re in the process of setting your donation amounts, it’s also helpful to think back on previous fundraisers and emulate how they were organized. If you’re hosting a similar event, you can confidently ask for the same amount of money—or even a bit more.
Once you’ve determined your goal, you can begin the process of figuring out how to achieve it. Think about your potential donors and how much each person would need to donate to reach your goal. It’s also important to consider how much each donor would have to give in order for you to surpass your goal.
Don’t forget about timelines when setting your target. If your fundraiser is only operating for a few days, it may be difficult to reach a lofty objective. If your event lasts several weeks or longer, however, it’s possible to shoot for the stars.
Reference Your Fundraising Schedule
As you organize your event, consider your overall fundraising schedule. If your group hosts several fundraisers throughout the year, it may behoove you to set modest donation amounts each time so your donor pool doesn’t feel overwhelmed. If there is a particular group of people who donate frequently to your cause, you must maintain a delicate balance so they continue being generous.
If your schedule allows, it’s wise to space out your fundraising efforts as much as possible. You can also consider hosting bigger events only a few times a year. Of course, if your group typically only hosts one major fundraiser per year, it’s appropriate to ask for stretch donation amounts.
Be sure to do your research to determine the best course of action. To maximize donations, think about the timeline of your fundraisers and whether you have too many or not enough events on the schedule. The bottom line is that you want to ensure your donors are always excited to support your cause throughout the year.
Think About How the Funds Are Used
Another important consideration is how the funds will be allocated. You always want to raise as much money as possible with each fundraiser, but some causes require less money than others to be successful. For example, if you’re asking for donations for a local food pantry during the holiday season, a few dollars can comfortably feed a family. On the other hand, if you’re trying to raise funds to send your students on a band trip overseas, you’ll need quite a bit to achieve your goal.
Think about how the donations will be used and the appropriate dollar amount needed per student, per family, per team, etc. You don’t want to turn off potential donors by organizing a private movie screening but asking for hundreds of dollars in donations, for instance. Instead, consider how the funds will be used and establish your donation requests accordingly.
Throughout the fundraising process, it’s important to remain flexible. Since you need to determine donation amounts before your event even begins, it can be difficult to know if you’ve made the right decision. Once the fundraiser has started, it’s OK if you make adjustments throughout the process, as it’s possible to underestimate or overestimate donation requests at the start.
If you notice you’re reaching your goal faster than you expected, give yourself a pat on the back and feel free to increase the suggested donation amounts moving forward. Conversely, if your fundraiser has a slow start, it’s perfectly fine to lower your donation amounts to hopefully attract more donors. As long as you monitor the progress of your event and remain nimble, you’ll be able to achieve your fundraising goal.
Ready to take your fundraiser to the next level? At Vertical Raise, we provide an online fundraising system designed to raise more money in less time. From soccer fundraisers to donation requests for choir trips, we can help your group or organization increase the reach of your event and achieve your goals.