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Donations basics

THE TAKEAWAY: There are different types of donations you can receive from individuals. Distinguish which your organisation can prepare to ask for, and get asking.

Asking individuals for donations isn’t always an easy task. In fact, it can be really hard. Some organisations will have a dedicated fundraising officer, whilst others will depend on the board or volunteers to manage donations. Whatever situation your organisation is, it’s important to know the difference between the types of individual donations before launching in and asking for money.

Once-off donations

A self-explanatory term, once-off donations are made once, usually after an ‘ask’ via email or maybe a phone call. It doesn’t mean you only expect a donor to make one donation to you, it just means there’s no plan or agreement that they’ll give again. You can ask a donor for multiple one-off donations, but it will likely require many asks.

Regular donations

Unlike once-off donations, regular donations are set up so that an individual is donating a particular amount each week, fortnight, month, or even quarterly and annually. Usually, the individual donation is less than the average once-off donation, but the lifetime value of a regular donation is much higher, so regular donors can be valuable to acquire.

GiveNow facilitates secure, commission-free donations (once-off and regular) for thousands of community causes. You can sign-up for free on their website.

Major donations

Major donations are really a sub-set of one-off donations, but they get their own dedicated paragraph because they can be important to your organisation. There’s no exact value for a major donation, because it really depends on who your supporters are and their financial situations. For some organisations, $250 could be a major donation, whereas for others it could be $10,000. Generally, major donations are harder to come by than other one-off donations, but when you get them they really pay off.
Find out more about major donations.

Bequests and wills

Talking about bequests can be a sensitive topic, but they’re important. By engaging with your donors about the opportunity to allocate a donation to your organisation, you open them up to the opportunity to leave a legacy. You will also gain a valuable supporter, not just in monetary gain, but through the unique relationship you build with them.
Find out more about wills and bequests.

Workplace giving

Workplace giving programs allow employees to donate to organisations from their pre-tax income, which means they receive their tax-deduction before the end of financial year. Whilst it’s usually the task of a workplace-donor’s employer to set up a giving program, you can sign up to be included on platforms which support workplace giving, such as Good2Give or GoodCompany.