Q. How often should we solicit support from our donors?

A. How often do you solicit support from your donors, now? Is there a valid reason to increase contact and ask for an additional gift, this year, this quarter, this month?

There is no cookie cutter answer to the question of how often, but it begins with the case for support. Can you justify requesting an additional gift? Another factor for you to consider is the pattern and habit of the individual donor.

Someone who has given $50 a year for each of the past 10 years is valuable to your organization (that $500 may have helped purchase the new computer you are working on), but a jump to quarterly appeals may be overwhelming and cause a withdrawal of support.

On the other hand, a donor who occasionally provides major gifts to your organization may appreciate a regular update that explains the progress you have achieved as a result of their support. Additional appeals may be welcomed alongside these progress reports as opportunities to continue to make a difference through an additional gift at this time.

In other words, taking the time to evaluate how each donor fits into your fundraising plan may seem time consuming, but it will be time well spent. Remember, individuals account for more than 80% of every philanthropic dollar. You can materially increase your results if you can get an individual to make additional gifts—from once a year to twice, from once in a while—to annually. The key is thoughtful planning in advance of each ask—because well begun—a good plan—is half-done. You will be better than fifty percent of the way to success—a new gift—as a result of the careful planning that you do before you ever approach the donor.