Emma has been following your nonprofit for a while and she has finally decided that it’s time to make a donation.
When she first came to your donation page, she had a firm idea of how much she wanted to give. But after completing the donation form, she ended up donating twice her original intention.
What encouraged her to give more than she originally planned? It was a simple yet effective fundraising idea that is often overlooked – donation tiers.
Emma had seen that she could make a bigger difference to your nonprofit, by simply adding a little more to her donation. She knew her original intended amount would help. But the donation tiers showed how a relatively small increase would make a world of difference.
The effect, known as social information conditions, has been the subject of several studies. The results have been surprising. When donors are given a range of predetermined donation amounts (or “social information conditions”), they use the information to decide how much to give. In some cases, donations increased by 12%.
These results are impressive and show the power of donation tiers. If your nonprofit is strategic about your donation tiers, it can help maximize donations in a significant way.
What Are Donation Tiers?
Donation tiers are a series of predetermined donation amounts, usually accompanied by a description of what the donation will allow your nonprofit to do.
The idea is to show donors that their donation has real-world impact. Most importantly, donation tiers encourage donors to give more because they can see that just a little increase gives them more “value” for their donation.
There is some strategy involved in finding the right descriptions and increments for your donation tiers. This blog post will help point you in the right direction.
Here’s an example of what donation tiers can look like:
A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Donation Tiers Using Donorbox
Step 1: Determine Your Donation Tiers
Create a Donorbox account and begin putting your campaign form together. After you have entered basic details about your campaign, add your preferred preset amounts. Add some meaningful and compelling descriptions. Here’s a guide to help with that.
Some default figures will already appear but you can set donation tiers that are relevant for your organization.
Pro tip #1: Use donor management software to see your average donation. You can also find out the smallest and largest amounts that have been given. This helps your nonprofit set realistic donation tiers. Of course, you want people to give more but going too far away from past donations means you might miss out on new donations. With Donorbox, you can export data and find out details about donation averages.
You can also use industry benchmarks to give another perspective. You may find that your average online donation is a lot lower or higher than the industry benchmark. This gives you an idea of how you can adjust your donation tiers to maximize donations.
Pro tip #2: Having 3-6 donation tiers can work well. Any more than this can confuse donors and stop them making a donation at all.
Pro tip #3: With the power of peer-to-peer recognition, many donors won’t want to give in line with the lowest donation tier in case they look bad. Setting your first two donation tiers too low can mean you miss out on maximizing donations from your middle tiers.
Step 2: Explain Why These Donation Tiers Are Important
Alongside each donation amount, you have the option to add a description to give donors more information on what it covers.
This is a great opportunity to show the impact of your work, especially for the higher amounts. When donors can see the difference they can make, they’ll often be more inclined to donate more.
A particular donor may have come to your donation form with the intention to donate $10 but if they can see that $25 will have a much bigger impact, this can convince them to give more than they planned.
Using SMART fundraising goals can be effective for writing your descriptions for each donation tier.
Specific – Who is benefitting from the donation? What impact will the donation have? How will each donation level change lives?
Measurable – How many people can benefit from the donation? What numbers can you give donors to demonstrate the impact of their donation? Is it easy to measure whether this has been successful?
Attainable – Is the impact of the donation realistic to achieve?
Relevant – Can donors relate to the impact of the donation tier?
Time-based – Can you give a time frame for the impact that donations will have? This can be anything from hours to a year, for example.
A few examples of this can include:
- $50 can provide meals for 2 families who are living in poverty
- $75 can provide sanitary protection for a week for 3 girls living in period poverty
- $100 can deliver 2 workshops to equip survivors of domestic abuse with the skills they need to rebuild their lives
- $250 can send a young orphan to school for a year
Pro tip #1: Keep your descriptions short and easy-to-digest. People can feel more compelled to give if you can paint a visual picture of who they will be helping. Include numbers so that donors have a concrete sense of how many people they can impact through their donation.
Here’s an example of this in action:
Pro tip #2: Your descriptions can be based around people, items, or timescales. Donation amounts can support people for a day or a month, for example. In the Crisis Text Line example above, donation tiers are providing specific timescales around service delivery and training.
Step 3: Add a Custom Amount
You can also include a custom amount option so that donors can choose how much they give. They can donate an amount that isn’t included in your donation tiers.
Allowing donors to choose their preferred amount can help them make a donation that fits their budget and they’ll often pick an amount that’s not too far off from your donation tiers.
Over to You
Donation tiers can be an effective way to secure more donations and attract more recurring donors. Another reason why donation tiers work is that it gives donors a sense of what an appropriate donation is.
At Donorbox, we’ve made it easy to create donation tiers on your donation forms and take advantage of this. You can set yours up with just a few clicks.
All you have to do is decide which donation amounts will work best and let your donors know how their money will be spent.
For more advice on how to get the most from your fundraising efforts, take a look at the resources on our nonprofit blog.