Every community is different and all nonprofits face various challenges when raising money. As a bit of a reality check I would encourage all staff and board members of your nonprofit to try to discover and review some of the basic facts about the community you are serving.
To get a general idea of the overall wealth that is in your community as well as various other demographic factors simply go to fedstats.sites.usa.gov/. Look in the links to stats section on the left hand side of the page and use the drop down list to display your state. Now after you click you will be able to move to your county or city information. When you do this you will be able to see some wonderful information pertaining to the ages of the population as well as median household income, per capita income and the number of persons below poverty given as a percentage!
All nonprofits regardless of where you live in the United States should understand that approximately 70% of all US household donate to charity. Yet everyone should be more sensitive to the fact that the average total amount given per household is approximately $2,045 annually!
It literally blows me away when I hear from local nonprofits that are affiliated with national organizations and hear the national organization’s expectations for the local nonprofit chapter.
Two examples that come to mind are the Red Cross Clara Barton Society that asks givers to give at least $1,000 annually or the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society member for the cool sum of $10,000 annually.
While I don’t fault anyone for trying to aim high and get the most in fundraising I do however question how the national organization expects the local group to have success based on the data provided above.
I realize it might be easier to raise $1,000 from one person than $100 from ten people but how many $1,000 do you think are really “out there” in the community where the nonprofit is located?
Also, it should be painfully obvious that nonprofits will have limited success getting larger contributions unless they have established a prior relationship with the donor.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.