If there’s one thing I’d like TntConnect to do, it would be to tell me the exact amount I should ask each contact for when doing an initial ask, an increase, or a special gift appeal. I even read a TntConnect help forum entry once where the user [humorously] asked, “Where is the ‘Automatically ask for increase’ button?!”
Since those great features don’t exist in TntConnect yet, I am forced to use more rudimentary methods. I would never use mail merge to send a letter asking for an increase in regular support—that should be reserved for a face-to-face (or at least phone) appointment. But for a special gift appeal, I typically do suggest an amount, and I often vary that amount based on the partner’s average giving.
I want this suggested amount to be ‘relevant’ or ‘attainable’ for the contact. If I had a partner who gave $500/monthly (I don’t), I would not suggest a special gift of $25, nor would I ask a $25/monthly partner for a $500 gift. What I do, then, is export my “special gift appeal list” to Excel, and then set a range based on their regular giving. My range is fairly narrow… I suggest either “$50 or $100” or “$100 or $200”.
When I use Group Actions | Export Current Group to send my current group to Excel, I select their name, greeting, mailing address block, and average monthly giving fields. (The screen shot below has been modified to show only the fields I export; you will have to scroll through the list for them.)
Two final notes:
While writing this blog entry, I did an analysis of all of the special gifts we have received in the past 20 years. (I did this by pressing the “View Giving Trends” button in the Appeal box.) I discovered that $25, $50, and $100 are the most frequent gifts—accounting for half of all the special gifts ever given. THAT is really helpful information.
Since I have been in full-time ministry for 25 years, I find that the special gifts we receive are fairly consistent. With the exception of a few unique and significant appeals over the years (for a vehicle, first baby, significant overseas mission trip), our twice-annual special gift appeals generally result in very similar results.
So my goal is typically not to raise a significant amount of funds, but to give my partners an opportunity to give. My hope and trust is in the Lord, and I do not rely on special gifts to make up shortfalls in monthly support; that is, I am not “dependent” on the results of any special gift appeal to stay in ministry for the next season.
Read more on Special Gift Appeals