How To Increase Your Average Gift

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Figuring out the amount of the average gift from your donor base serves more of a purpose than you might think.

average gift
Our calculator helps you look at donations to your nonprofit in different ways. The easy-to-use online tool not only tells you how much each of your donors is worth to your organization, it allows you to tweak the various factors used in the calculation to show you how you can increase donor value.

To illustrate how this can work, I input the following data in the calculator: Average gift=$65; frequency of gift=twice a year; cost of new donor=$75. Industry averages for donor life (2.5 years) and donor retention (43%) are built in to the system, so I just used those. (If your organization’s numbers differ from those averages, you can add your own.)

I wanted to see how changing one factor would change my donor value, so I increased the average gift from $65 to $75. Wow. My donor value rose from $245.15 to $289.18.

Boosting the average donation by $10 seems doable, and one proven way to reach the goal is to use suggested giving amounts on all printed and online donation forms. Studies show that suggested levels cause people to give more than they have in the past.

The trick is to set giving levels that are appropriate for your organization. If the average donation to your organization is $50, you will want to start your giving levels at $60 or $65, not $100, which would be off-putting to many of your donors. By the same token, if your average gift is $500, don’t start your giving levels at $50 because your donors obviously give much more than that on the whole. Choose about five giving levels and make sure you include an “other” category so that donors can choose their own amount if they wish.


Julie Thomas

Business Development

May 29, 2017

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