Determine Appropriate Solicitation Method

Once you have identified prospects, you’ll want to cultivate them for eventual solicitation. Cultivation takes many forms, including communication, education, engagement, and involvement. Creating a “buzz” about your program gets people aware and often willing to provide support. The outcome of a successful cultivation process is to solicit the prospect for a gift.

There are many different ways to ask someone for a donation. Some have a higher return on investment than others. Efficient fundraising focuses your energy on those methods that will raise the greatest amount of money for the least cost. Below is some insightful “return on investment” data published by Charity Channel on several popular fundraising methods.

Fundraising Method Cost per dollar raised
Direct mail to non-donors $1.15*
Special events 50 cents
Direct mail to current donors 20 cents
Grant proposals 20 cents
Major gifts (typically personal solicitations) 5-10 cents

*Direct mail should be considered an investment in new donor acquisition. Once a donor is acquired, the strategy is to retain the donor and obtain renewed and increased gifts.

Other fundraising methods include social media and crowd-source fundraising, telemarketing and planned giving, to name a few.