If I had to pick the most important of resources to lead you through a successful capital campaign, it would be the Gift Range Chart. You may also know it as a gift table or a gift pyramid.
In this post, you’ll learn the basics of Gift Range Charts and discover the related tools that will help create a plan for your campaign.
Quick Links — Click on any of the links below to jump ahead and learn the essentials about Gift Range Charts:
- Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart: An Overview
- Creating Your Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart
- Going Beyond the Gift Range Chart
- Tools to Create Your Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart
- Conclusion: Making Sense of Your Campaign
Read on and learn about how Gift Range Charts (also known as gift tables) are created and used.
Free Download: The State of Capital Campaigns
This groundbreaking research into how capital campaigns are planned and executed by North American nonprofits sheds light on many of the common questions and myths surrounding campaigns, including what the typical campaign giving pyramid looks like.
Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart: An Overview
If you’ve been through a capital campaign before, you are likely familiar with this important tool. If you use this tool correctly, you’ll be well on your way to leading a successful campaign.
What is a Gift Range Chart?
A Gift Range Chart provides a framework for the number of gifts, at each gift amount, that you’ll need for a successful campaign.
The Gift Range Chart is the primary tool for your campaign because it will clarify your campaign goal and help you determine your chances for success at a specific goal amount. But the right Gift Range Chart for your campaign will become the backbone of your campaign in many other ways as well.
A Gift Range Chart will enable you to:
- Sort your donors by ask amounts
- Establish the pattern of gifts you’ll need for your campaign
- Create a strategic order for soliciting gifts
- Provide a logical approach to quantifying the number of prospects you’ll need for your campaign
- Help your board understand what campaign success is going to take
- Show your top donors where their gifts will fit into the campaign
- Track and report on your campaign progress
- Develop a rational plan for donor communication, recognition and naming opportunities
Developing a Gift Range Chart or Table in the earliest stages of your capital campaign will be enormously helpful for all the reasons listed above.
But it can also help mitigate the risks of your campaign and temper any anxiety your organization is feeling. By taking the time to clearly lay out how much you’ll raise and from whom, you can immediately see if your current plan will work and exactly where you need to make the adjustments that will lead to a successful campaign.
Sample Gift Range Chart
You’ll find several tools to help create your Gift Range Chart in the “Pre-Campaign Planning” section of the Capital Campaign Pro. Here’s a sample Gift Range Chart to use as a reference:
Creating Your Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart
In the sample Gift Range Chart in the preceding section, you can see that the top gift is 20% of the campaign goal. And, the first seven gifts take you to $1.4 million — more than halfway toward the goal.
The top group of 15 gifts take you to $1.8 million, or 72% — nearly three-quarters of the way to the campaign goal.
This pattern, showing a few gifts accounting for a large proportion of the campaign goal, is common for capital campaigns. In most campaigns, the top gift is 20% or 25% of the campaign goal. In some cases, it’s even higher. In fact, only 10 gifts account for at least half the goal in the vast majority of capital campaigns.
On the other hand, you can see that the remaining gifts — those of $25,000 or less account for less than 30% of the goal.
Of course, the amounts on this chart are for example only. One standard pattern does not work for every campaign. Your Gift Range Chart will have to reflect the size of your donor base. The smaller your donor base, the larger the gifts in the top of the chart will have to be.
7 Tips to Create Your Gift Range Chart
Here are seven tips that will help you create a Gift Range Chart for your organization.
- Build your gift chart by starting with the top gift which should be at least 20% of your campaign goal.
- Then work down, increasing the number of gifts as the size of the gifts goes down.
- The number of gifts in the first column should increase in a rational pattern as the size of the gifts decreases.
- The gift amounts should be simple and standard to reflect a generic pattern rather than specific gifts you may already have in.
- You will need 2, 3 or even 4 times the number of prospects than the number of gifts. The prospect multiplier depends on how well you know your donors.
- The total number of prospects you show in your chart should be no larger than the number of qualified prospects you have in your donor base.
- If when you get to the bottom of your chart, you find that you need more prospects than you have, go to the top and increase the number of gifts at the top.
Want one-on-one guidance to help create your campaign’s gift range chart? Just reach out—we’ll be happy to help!
Going Beyond the Gift Range Chart
The Gift Range Chart will serve as a roadmap for your campaign. You will use a Depth Chart to add prospect names to each giving level you have decided on in your Gift Range Chart.
From Gift Range Chart to Depth Chart
Once you’ve created a Gift Range Chart for your campaign, you’ll develop a “Depth Chart” which will attach specific prospective donor names to each gift required for a successful campaign.
Simply take each of the top giving levels and use them as column headers. In each header, indicate how many gifts you will need at that level and how many prospects that will require:
Next, start filling out the names of people you can credibly ask for a gift at that level for your campaign. Sorting your donors into columns is done by evaluating their current giving, their potential to give, and their likely inclination.
As you fill out the Depth Chart, you will clearly see where you have enough qualified prospective donors and where you fall short.
Donor qualification is the process of determining which of your prospects are the most likely to give and using those insights to shape your outreach. It’s what allows you to have the strategic order of solicitation necessary for successful capital campaigns. Qualification criteria will vary based on the details of your campaign and the size of the gift you want to solicit, but things like active engagement with your organization, wealth markers, and an interest in your mission are all essential.
If you don’t have any prospect names for the top three levels, you probably need to go back to the drawing board and reduce your campaign goal.
Once your depth chart has been filled in, you will use it to organize the order of solicitation. You’ll prioritize the top donors to solicit first and then gradually work down to the smaller gifts as laid out on the depth chart.
Using the Gift Range Chart to Solicit Gifts
Once you have your depth chart and you start talking to your donors about making gifts to the campaign, you will once again find the gift range chart to be helpful. You should always include a copy of the gift range chart in the materials you take to your donors. When you show it to them, they will be able to see where they might fit in the community of donors. While a donor’s ability to make a gift is important, most donors like to know where their gift fits.
Some donors want to be lead donors. And your chart will show them what that gift would be. Others might not want to be the lead donor but would like to make a significant gift to the campaign. Again, looking at the gift range chart will help them understand the range of giving and where they might place themselves in the community of donors.
Tracking Campaign Progress with the Gift Range Chart
Gift range charts have a way of making the essence of a capital campaign clear. So, as gifts come in, you will check them off on your gift range chart. Gradually, as your campaign moves forward, you will see graphically, in a simple way, the progress your campaign is making and what gifts have yet to be committed. Your board members and executive staff will appreciate this very simple tracking devise. It’ll give them a sense of confidence to see the top gifts fill in from the top down.
Tools to Create Your Capital Campaign Gift Range Chart
The sample Gift Range Chart in this post is one of a number of tools available in the Capital Campaign Pro toolkit’s Pre-Campaign Planning section. Other tools include:
- Gift Range Chart Calculator
- Gift Range Chart Worksheet
- Depth Chart Worksheet
Other related tools include a plan for your donor recognition guide based on the levels in your Gift Range Chart.
If you’re eager to utilize these tools for your campaign, check out the different Toolkit options here. Most options include campaign advising, giving you professional support at a fraction the cost of a campaign consultant.
Video: Gift Range Charts = Your Most Powerful Tool
To learn even more about creating a Gift Range Chart for your campaign, watch the following video (approximately 17 minutes):
Conclusion: Making Sense of Your Campaign
Because capital campaigns go on for many months (or even years), you may find it easy to get confused about where you should be putting your efforts during the seven phases of the campaign.
If, however, you coordinate your campaign plan to a Gift Range Chart, then, when you’re feeling lost, you’ll know where to turn. You’ll look at your chart to review which groups of donors have been solicited, as well as which are next up.
You may tie your staffing responsibilities to the donor levels of the Gift Range Chart. And you will certainly create a timetable for your campaign that prioritizes the work of the campaign according to giving level, starting with the largest gifts and working down. This approach will help minimize your campaign’s risks and give you clear views of where and when shortfalls might occur so that you can adjust course.
And even when considering how to thank and recognize donors, once you start thinking about it from the perspective of the giving levels in your Gift Range Chart, all of the planning will fall into place.
A Gift Range Chart Minimizes Confusion and Builds Confidence
When you organize your campaign based on a clear top-down strategy as mapped out in the Gift Range Chart, you will minimize confusion and build confidence in the campaign process.
A Gift Range Chart may appear to be a simple planning devise, but when you use it as the essential structure for your campaign, you’ll find that everything falls into place.