Demands on hospice fundraising efforts have never been higher. With the pressure on for the big gifts necessary to make large goals possible, it is easy to neglect annual giving. Here are some reasons to get back on the program:

1) Ongoing Donor Relationships

Perhaps obviously, an annual giving club can be effective in sustaining continuous philanthropic income AND participation in your organization. Rather than simply making a gift each year, donors are renewing a membership in a club, simultaneously sustaining their membership and the charity’s donor pool. Well-planned donor recognition – dynamic displays, regularly refreshed newsletter lists, annual receptions, and plaques with blank spaces for subsequent years, for example – can further improve donor retention.

2) Capturing New Donors

Donor acquisition is the primary objective of an annual giving program. An annual membership drive is a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow donor pool each year. Keep the membership invitation in front of prospects year-round by adding it to your business reply envelope flap, mentioning it in each issue of your newsletter, and including it as a P.S. in your annual appeal.

3) Larger Gifts From Existing Donors

Annual gift clubs with defined tiers of giving can encourage donors to reach for higher levels of recognition, and in these challenging times, allow a donor to stay engaged. Annual levels of $100, $250, $500, and $1,000 offer natural milestones for your contributors. Consider using your annual membership renewal notice as an opportunity to invite every donor to advance to the next level. Conversely, consider how to offer a reduced level of giving to a lapsed donor.

4) Sustainability Between Campaigns

Established giving clubs allow mature development programs to enlist new donors between projects. As clubs achieve momentum, they can become less dependent upon a project or campaign to grow and sustain membership. In this way, you keep your philanthropic income high, even when not soliciting for a large fundraising campaign.

5) Widespread Community Recognition

Recognition of club’s membership is a powerful and persuasive way to demonstrate the endorsement of the community. Recognize your annual gift club members by level. Publish and distribute the list on at least an annual basis, if not in your quarterly newsletter. Be prepared to remove lapsed donors from the list. Remember that your goal is to put your donor list in the hands of as many of your prospects as often as possible.

Questions about Annual Giving Clubs? Ask the experts!


Original content by: Chris Rollins – Chief Development Officer for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, in Marlton, New Jersey