Using Giving Levels to Drive Donations

Giving Levels

“Fill in the blank” and “name your amount” aren’t just things you hear on a game show. Many nonprofits make this open-ended offer on their donation pages. It can be less pushy and unrestricted. But who said setting limits was always bad? Parameters can actually be about possibilities. Setting specific giving levels on your donate page can be a good thing if they can influence (and hopefully increase) donations.

What are Giving Levels?

Giving levels offer donors choices in the form of pre-set amounts. Rather than leaving a blank space for a donor to enter an amount, giving levels provide benchmarks that can influence the actual donation.

Setting Your Giving Levels

This can amount to a high/low game. When setting your giving levels, start by looking at your smallest and largest donation amounts as a good benchmark. So if your largest donation is $200, consider setting your highest level to $250 or $300. You could also determine what the average gift is and bump it up a bit. Your goal is obviously to encourage bigger donations, but you also want to be within the general realm of what has historically been donated.

Tell Donors What Their Money Will Support

Your giving levels can serve as a real-time needs statement for your organization. Offering giving levels highlights your nonprofit’s greatest needs and tells donors how donations can help support that. Be specific: include numbers, faces and details behind your ask. Is it medical supplies for a family? A meal for a family of four? A set of textbooks for a classroom of 20 students? The more detailed you can get, the more people can get behind your specific ask. Making the need real can make the request actionable. Your donors will be able to picture in a concrete way the good their money will enable.

Examples of Giving Levels

We’ve rounded up a few examples of nonprofits that use giving levels to enhance the donation process:

ChildFund

This is clean, simple and effective. ChildFund has just three giving levels that will buy bikes for girls to get to school. Easy as that. There’s also an option to provide a custom amount, but the simplicity and ease of this ask is effective. It’s immediately clear to the donor what their money will support, and really then just becomes a matter of how many bikes to buy.

ChildFund

Juma

Juma has a donate page with giving levels that display the progression of amounts to motivate donors to see how their money can be spent. With levels as low as $50 to as high as $5,000, these levels show how this nonprofit determines and measures impact with a wide scope of options available to choose from.

Juma

The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect features a narrative summary that gives a global overview of the project. The giving levels get more granular, specifically showing how a donation as small as $10 can make a difference. Each giving level represents an opportunity to help 10-25 girls.

The Girl Effect

United Nations Population Fund

The language used in the giving levels for The United Nations Population Fund is incredibly powerful. Under “Give to emergency response,” the donation request is expressed in a way that not only highlights the tangible needs (“hygiene essentials”) of what a donation will support, but also speaks to an intangible benefit (“enabling her to maintain her dignity”). The second option to “Help end fistula” frames the need in a preemptive way that could compel donations: preventing the problem of this pregnancy-related condition by paying for a woman’s C-section.

UN Population Fund

Exodus Cry

Aided by the clean design and use of icons, the donation descriptions in Exodus Cry effectively captures the scope of this nonprofit’s work and gives equal attention to each giving level. The set-up here is a bit different since the descriptions of where the money will go don’t directly correspond to the giving levels below (with the exception of the $100 amount). I like this method, though, because it can encourage donors to more thoughtfully weigh the math for how to maximize their donation and can be powerfully suggestive in motivating donors to choose how their money will be spent (or stretched).

Exodus Cry

 

Does your nonprofit use giving levels? Do you have any other examples of websites who use this method to encourage donations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments (and feel free to drop us a link).

Miun Gleeson is one of the wordsmiths at Wired Impact. She spends her time researching and writing about the ways content creation, marketing and technology can create meaningful results for nonprofits.

6 Comments on “Using Giving Levels to Drive Donations

  1. 1 Margaret Meehan February 26, 2019

    Mium:
    I actually stumbled over to this page, but am thinking perhaps you might be a great mix of information for us.
    We are a 501c3 Non Profit — We own a 9 building complex in Hopkinton, IA (Delaware Co.)
    We are hosting 5 different events on our campus, but we are also in need of major support for companies to donate for our ever ending restoration projects. Currently on our Sponsorship forms, it’s the basic $500/$250/$125 levels, with adversiting as their reward
    for donating. In the past 20 persay years, not to much has been done for any fundraising, until this past year, when I and a new President are at the helm… I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association and was able to draw $100,000.00’s of dollars, however finding that resstoration is much different than health issues to draw people — can you help?

    1. 2 Christine Soucy February 27, 2019

      Thanks for sharing, Margaret. Are you currently letting donors know some examples of what each level can accomplish? Do larger gifts get donors additional advertising? Try painting a picture of what each gift can accomplish to inspire more and larger gifts to your restoration project. And giving a little special treatment to your top sponsors never hurts! You could also consider updating your online fundraising plan based on trends and best practices. I hope that helps. Happy fundraising!

  2. 3 Virginia Hamilton November 10, 2019

    I too stumbled on this page as it was suggested to offer funding levels. Being a school program, I’m trying to figure out what we can offer at each level. If you’re so inclined, could you check out our site and offer suggestions? You’ll love what we do… http://www.CanineCommandos.org. Thanks so much, Virginia Hamilton

    1. 4 Christine Soucy November 13, 2019

      Great question, Virginia. While it’s tough to give specific levels without knowing your budget or the supplies that you need on a regular basis, you might focus lower giving levels around caring for the animals, such as food, shelter and training treats, and then use larger giving levels for bigger lifts like one-on-one training for teachers or the cost of a typical school program. I hope that helps! Let me know if any other questions come up as you’re working through this.

  3. 5 Jenny Lind April 6, 2021

    Hello,
    Thank you for these great examples!

    do you have any suggestions for how to frame it so that the examples don’t sound like specific line items that their gift will be restricted toward?

    For example, a $10,000 gift would help 5 kids in our therapy program for a school year. However, it may sound as if that gift is then restricted to that therapy program, when we really mean is that the program is an example of the impact of $10,000.

    1. 6 Christine Ward April 7, 2021

      That’s a good question, Jenny. If you’re using a general donation form on your website, and not a form offering options of specific programs or projects to give toward, there’s typically not any expectations that the gift should be used exclusively for the purpose noted in the giving level. These amounts serve as examples of what that amount can do to move your mission forward, rather than locking you into using it for that purpose only.

      However, if you’re worried that your donors may be confused by them, you can add a bit of text before listing the giving levels to explain their purpose. For example, “The following amounts are examples of the impact your donation can have within our community.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *