As you well know, not all donors are going to make a substantial contribution to your ministry. Odds are you consistently process small donations with your donor management software. Church Leaders cited data from a report done by The Millennial Impact Project, a study of the millennial generation, that showed a shift from large donations made via checks to small donations sent through a number of different Web-based tools, including iTunes, Paypal, Kickstarter and Square.
While these new donor tendencies might not be what you want to see, it is extremely important for you to find a way to work with these small donors. If you look at the situation closely you’ll see why donors who provide small donations are just as important as those who write the big checks.
Small donations often come from first-time donors
According to Business 2 Community, many first-time donors make small contributions. Many of them don’t want to make a large donation because they are just beginning to give. Others don’t feel they don’t know enough about your organization to provide more than a small donation. While these donors may not seem that important, in actuality they represent a huge opportunity for your ministry. Every donor started at a similar place. If you can cultivate a stronger relationship with these first-time donors, you can help drive future donations that may be more substantial.
Repeat donors make multiple small donations that can add up
If a hundred small donations are made at the same time, you’re going to end up with quite a large sum of money. Always encourage donors to give even a little bit. A donor that contributes just a little is better than someone who doesn’t give at all. According to Business 2 Community, many repeat donors who have had to downgrade make small contributions. Sometimes they do this because their own financial situation is in trouble, other times it’s because they needed to divert more funds towards something else, such as a child’s college fund. Whatever the case may be, it is important to make them feel that they are an important part of your donor community. Eventually, they may start increasing their donation amount.
“Make sure to let small donors know they are appreciated.”
You can grow donations through engagement
When a person makes a small donation to your ministry, make sure to let them know they are appreciated. Send out a handwritten thank you card, give them a personal call, or send them a personal email expressing how important they are to your ministry.
When you make contact with these donors, make sure to tell them how you’re utilizing their funds and the programs that they are supporting. While you’re doing that, it can be smart to ask them if they would like to volunteer some of their time as well. Express the need your ministry has for help during specific campaigns and programs. Some donors will jump at the chance to provide service without making an additional financial commitment. Encouraging people to add volunteer service to their donations can help improve donor value to your organization.
Thanking donors helps achieve long-term goals
Sometimes your donors won’t want to do anything more than provide a small donation at a regular interval. Ministries should recognize the importance of these types of donors. While any one of their donations might not be a substantial amount, over time the amount of money they donated can add up. A donor that makes a $25 donation four times a year for six years is just as important as someone who provides a $600 one-time donation. In fact, that smaller donor may be more important if he or she continues to make donations beyond the $600 dollars. A ministry should be more focused on long-term goals and small, consistent, long-term donors are going to better help achieve these goals.
Keep track of all donor and volunteer activity
Tracking all donor information through your donor management software is the best way to tell when and how to contact and expand donor relationships. You need to know when donors have last donated, how much and what they have been up to in the meantime. While you might want to push a donor to increase the donation amount they provide, in general, it is better to just strengthen ties with the donors. That way, they will continue to provide your ministry with funds for years to come.