How to Use a Gift Range Chart

Gift range charts are my favorite underrated fundraising tool. Not only are they quick and easy to create, they can have a major impact on your fundraising success. 

A gift range chart (or simply, gift chart) is most useful in a campaign context or for a major gifts drive that folds into your annual campaign, in other words when you’re trying to raise a specific amount of money.

A gift chart can help you answer critical questions you’ll likely ponder at a campaign’s outset: Is our goal attainable? Where will the money come from?

You can make a gift chart any time, but at two points in the pre-campaign planning phase, a chart will be especially helpful. First, as part of goal setting, to give you a ballpark idea of what is possible. And then again, once your campaign goal is solidified, as a guide to how much money you’re going to request from whom. 

Sample gift chart to raise $60,000

Sample gift chart to raise $60,000

In addition to the sample gift chart shown here to raise $60,000, here’s an example outlining how to raise $1,000,000. A gift chart can be created for any size goal, which makes them super flexible and helpful for you. 

When looking at your gift chart, note that your donor group is shaped more like a pyramid than a skyscraper, with a relatively small number of major givers at the top and a widening base of smaller dollar donors at the bottom. 

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Approximately 80% of your fundraising goal will be met by 20% of your donors.
  • Count on asking three or four qualified prospects for every one gift you’ll receive. (Not everyone will say yes, or agree to the exact amount you request.)
  • Your largest gift (or “lead” gift) should account for 10-15% of your goal, and more is better.
  • Build your chart from top to bottom. List major gift prospects first, then build your chart downwards, decreasing gift size and increasing the number of donors at each level. 

The final version of your gift chart should be customized to the context and realities of your organization, but try out online versions as a way to get started.

As you work with your gift chart, keep in mind that it’s not set in stone. In other words, don’t get caught up in thinking that gifts will fall into these exact gift levels (because they won’t). Feel free to adjust the chart as your campaign moves along to reflect the levels of support you are seeing from your donors.

Special gift for you: My step-by-step guide, Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, is available here (click). 

Do you find gift range charts as nifty as I do? Please share your thoughts in the Comments box below.