Now Is The Time to Reengineer Your Annual Fund!

By susanlienau | July 21, 2020 | Uncategorized
Learn how to improve your annual fund with this blog post.

As the country lurches through COVID-19, it’s a challenge to make strategic decisions regarding your fundraising. However, there is one area that can be addressed now: Improving Your Annual Fund.

An organization’s annual fund often serves as its life-blood. The annual fund provides money for programs and services, salaries, scholarships, equipment purchases, and other mission-driven necessities. The annual fund also serves as an indicator of what an organization can raise in a capital funds campaign.

Not-for-profit organizations should conduct a review of their annual fund every three to five years to identify trends and surface new opportunities. Here’s what we mean:

  • Examine the behavior of your annual donors. Do you detect that patterns form – have donors been giving the same amount consistently for a period of years?
  • If this is true, put together a plan to increase their annual gift. Use your gift clubs/societies. In other words, if a cohort of donors has been giving $500 per year for three to five years, ask them to join “The President’s Circle” with a gift of $1,000. If someone has been giving $250 consistently, ask for $500, $1,000? Ask for $2,500. And so on.

Averill has used this strategy, with great effect: revenue will spike, and participation need not decline. One client, in year 1 of this plan, saw its annual fund increase by a third, and participation increased by nearly 10%!

Here’s another tip:

  • The most frequently asked question in an annual fund is “What did I give last year?”
  • To address this, don’t reference last year’s gift in your solicitation letter, and don’t provide giving history to phonathon volunteers. Just ask for the larger gift!

Have questions? Want to learn more about reengineering your annual fund?

Averill President, Robert C. Happy, Jr. will be offering 30-minute private consultations on this topic! Time slots are available on:

  • Thursday, July 23 between 1:00 – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Thursday, July 30 between 9:00 am – 1:00 pm EDT


For more of our thoughts on engaging supporters during COVID-19, please click here.

Averill Fundraising Solutions stands with you through these challenging times, and is available to talk with you about the thoughts outlined in this memo, YOUR thoughts, and all your advancement needs. Email us at or call us at 888-321-1810.

Robert C. Happy, Jr. – President, Averill Fundraising Solutions

Bob Happy has more than 35 years of experience providing expert leadership and direction to clients across the not-for-profit sector. During his career, Bob has served more than 2,000 clients and has guided them to raise more than $3,500,000,000.

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