March 15, 2017

The Joy of Undesignated Donations: Creating Diamond Donors

What is a diamond donor? A contributor who gives undesignated cash or assets. Diamond donors embrace your need for the flexibility of cash.  

Why are undesignated donations helpful? They empower nonprofits to leverage funds and purchase necessary but unattractive products and services. These include tires, IT counsel, and TP. 

Why don’t more donors give undesignated gifts? Two reasons: fear and lack of awareness. New donors hear nonprofit horror stories. Newbies give explicitly. They hope to ensure you will use their contributions honorably.   

Out of habit, committed donors fund the same attractive tangible results. You can change this! Many, if educated, will support more pressing needs. When one client focused on sharing the impact of the discretionary fund on solving no-other-solution problems (eyeglasses for Mark, lab fees for Tina, and hearing aids for Alex), donations to the fund increased one-hundred fold in less than eighteen months. Another organization moved 20 percent of their donors to undesignated gifts and grew overall income. Still another crafted exceptional experiences for donors who gave $5,000 annual donations to the general fund. To inspire diamond donors, all communicated the benefits to the mission, the budget, and people’s lives. All orchestrated their campaigns with an eye to donor safety and visibility.  

How can you make more diamond donors?

The Diamond Donor Formula involves three essential elements: value, safety, and awareness. The Formula works best with committed donors. To use the formula, translate needs into donor-centric value. (Until you get the hang of it–this can be tricky! Hang in there.) Ensure such gifts are a safe bet.Then, inform your donors about the opportunities. Excite them about the results.  

Stop now. Think. How can you frame your need for tires, IT advice, and TP, etc. so that patrons love supporting these essentials? (For help read, Can Philanthropy Actually Help Your Bottom Line? Since it’s written for business owners, it will help you wear a different hat.)

Most nonprofits wish they had more undesignated gifts: A few create them. To which group do you belong? Use the Diamond Donor Formula to gain more undesignated gift joy. For help, request a consultation with Karen.   

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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