I’m a fan of suggested ask amounts.
As you put the finishing touches on your year-end appeals, don’t make donors guess how much you need, or what you expect from them.
Clue people in. It’s the right thing to do.
If what you’re currently planning is some version of “please give whatever you can” or “please consider increasing your gift,” I encourage you to rethink your plan. Those phrases are vague. And vague requests yield token gifts. Or no gifts at all.
The best requests for money are for a specific purpose and a specific amount.
As in “Dad, I need $250 to buy school books.” Or “Grandma, I need $5,000 to buy a used car.” Or see the philanthropic ask examples from Oxfam and Charity: water below:
When you don’t give folks anchor amounts to hang onto, they’re apt to put your appeal aside for some time when they’ve more time to think about it.
More often than not, that ‘some time’ never happens.
So give folks an anchor of some sort, unless you want folks to stop dead in their tracks trying to figure out the right amount.
No one wants to feel ungenerous by giving less than is considered helpful.
No one wants to be a ‘chump’ by giving more than you need, or more than others like them are giving.
While some donors upgrade their giving without being asked, most donors wait to be asked – or at least to be offered a darn good reason to give more.
Research tells us donors will give more, on average, when they’re prompted with specific amounts. They’ll give even more when offered a choice of giving levels (download Sustainers in Focus by Blackbaud). But you have to do it the right way.