The other day, an interesting thought popped into my head…
What would be better as a fundraiser: to have a single $10,000 donor, or 100 donors giving $100 each?
Of course, the money is the same either way, but which option did fundraisers feel yielded the most future potential?
So I took the question to Quora and LinkedIn, and I got a wide variety of responses. More fundraisers said they’d rather have 100 $100 donors, as they felt there was more potential for growth there.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people’s answers seem to correlate to the specific area of fundraising they work in. Leadership giving fundraisers prefer to have 100 $100 donors, but major gift officers are more interested in the $10,000 donor.
Each group had the same basic reason they choose the way they did: they felt their choice offered more potential for future gifts. Fundraisers who would rather have a single $10,000 gift felt they could use that gift for leadership, asking their other major gift prospects to match it. The fundraisers who preferred 100 different donors giving $100 felt that that option provided 100 different opportunities to build relationships, which could move those $100 givers into a higher category.
Vote for your choice, then read some of the responses from LinkedIn and Quora below!
By the way, if you want to learn how to raise $10,000 in 30 days through crowdfunding, sign up for our free webinar!
One $10,000 Donor
“It costs the same amount to process one $10,000 as it does one $100 gift. As such, one, larger gift wins hands-down. Then, there are all the 'professional' reasons: the impact of the gift is more transparent. As is the bandwagon factor: people give because people give. If you say to your next donor, please match our $10,000 donor, the impact is far greater than if you say: "Match $100."” -Sim B.
“It depends on the organization and its mission and activities. When I work with basic research institutes, they are major gift organizations as they will never attract the kind of widespread support that a community or arts or education or disease organization might engender, For them, one large gift is the target with a secondary focus on building out the pipeline of what may begin as smaller donors who will "grow into" the organization.” -Eden G.
One Hundred $100 Donors
“I'd rather have 100 individuals donate $100 each. Fundraising = relationship building. An individual might make a random gift of $100, but they aren't likely to make that gift again without some kind of relationship being established in the time in between. 100 individuals may only want to give $100 their first time, but if they're cultivated well, and stewarded well, they might consider $250 next time. If you keep the relationship strong and dig a little deeper, they might give $500, and so on and so forth. More relationships = more potential.” -Maeve Strathy
“I would most likely want the 100 donors because you can build loyalty and consistency. The $10,000 will be hard to replicate in the future, especially if it was a bequest or memorial donation.” -Elizabeth P.
“For an educational organization with alumni, or arts organization looking to ensure future audiences, those smaller gifts and an annual effort makes more sense as a focus in the long run, for you do not know who will emerge as the major donor later and there are secondary benefits.” -Eden G.
“I would pick 100 donors giving $100. The one-time donor at $10K will reap only 10K. But across a 5 year giving history, the 100 donors / $100 each will not only yield the same 10K, but will donate several times in the years ahead, maybe attend and event, and the gold star would be to get involved. 100 / $100 x5 = $50K ... its all math and most importantly - donor engagement!” -Sharon G. Z.
“I think the stage and in the life cycle and the cause of the nonprofit you are advocating for would determine the need for 100/$100 vs. 1/$10,000. If you are just launching the nonprofit and the cause would be a grassroots type awareness platform then the 100/$100 could be the right approach. More advocates with more equitable skin in the game and hopefully a broader a network of contacts to spread your np message or cause. Then, as the cause becomes more established, and the need for strategic investment either within the nonprofit as in office space, leadership, or other high capital items, the need for a champion at 1/$10,000 could be more necessary. The single source could allow stronger alignment with a chief stakeholder from the sea of 100/$100 and provide some donor leadership to raise the tide of the other 100/$100.” -Jordan C.“I chose not to choose- I want both as one supports today's work, the other sets our future and diversifies funding- making for more secure, stable and accurate budget projections.” -Jessica G.