Annual Fund Case Study: Multi-Year Giving Society

By Melonie Dalson

Are you looking for a way to take your organization’s Annual Fund to the next level? Are your moderate donors ready to be engaged at a deeper level?

A multi-year Giving Society Campaign is geared toward your moderate donors. You will want to stick to a concentrated list excluding your major donors and top prospects. As this mailing list is not as broad as what you would use for your annual appeal, you will want to take the time to compile donors who have given once at a per-determined level and include those who have given multiple gifts over time.

Giving Societies are a great way to further engage donors as they commit membership and financial support to your agency at the Society level that makes the most sense for them. By including four or five societies ranging in giving levels and promoting as a multi-year campaign, you can reach a wide range of giving capabilities and secure projected income over multiple years.

The society names and descriptions should tie to your organizational mission and provide some form of benefit to the new member. Benefits might include exclusive invitations to agency events or name placement on a commemorative wall piece.

Time the unveiling of your new Giving Society program between other initiatives. Do not launch within two months of any of your signature special events or annual appeal drive. This allows it to serve as a standalone initiative.

You can use a combination of methods to “launch” your new Giving Societies initiative. I recommend a mailing to your select list of moderate donors in conjunction with a broader scope email campaign driving donors to an online giving option. There are a number of social media forums that can also support a Giving Society campaign. As a multi-year campaign be sure to include softer pushes to the new Giving Society initiative at least quarterly and a strong reminder annually throughout the designated years it encompasses.

As a multi-year initiative you will want to remain flexible in payment options for donors. Options may include one-time payment, annually, quarterly or even monthly contributions. Whatever options you offer, you will need to make sure your organization has the infrastructure in place to follow through.  For example, do you have the staffing to invoice monthly if requested, or the technology to set up a quarterly bank draft?

In conclusion, always collect contact information for each guest you have at your events and place them into your cultivation cycle as appropriate. Be sure to thank all donors and follow through as promised on any benefits you commit to for the various Giving Society membership levels. And, keep your donors updated to the challenges and successes of your organization….in between every ask correspondence, have at least two communiqués that do not directly solicit funds.

This post written by guest blogger Melonie Dalson, founder and president of On Track Consulting, specializing in achieving personal and organizational excellence through people development processes. Her passion for positive outcomes through execution of results-oriented, innovative approaches, in conjunction with her diverse background serves her in enabling clients to tap into their potential and achieve outcomes once thought beyond their reach.

Melonie has over 10 years proven success in non-profit leadership including resource development, process improvement, organizational development, team building, and youth leadership. She has served on a number of boards and steering committees at the local, state, and national level. During her tenure as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maryland, Melonie implemented the Raising More Money development model, doubling the organization’s annual budget and significantly increasing income from individuals and corporations. As development coordinator for Patuxent Habitat for Humanity, Melonie designed and implemented a comprehensive development plan that included several special events and direct mail campaigns.

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