During my time working for the Aga Khan University I was able to meet in Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya with my far-flung colleagues (from Chicago, USA and London, UK).

MathforFundraisers1It is a very big campaign and I’m learning much about reaching out in meaningful ways to prospective supporters, with and without connectors (Ambassadors) to introduce us. My London colleagues (Shelley, Bruce and Steve) developed these equations to help our faculty and other non-fundraising colleagues better understand what we do.

(Knowledge + Engagement) Time = Commitment


Commitment + Capacity = Gift

The Knowledge a donor seeks or learns, plus the length or depth of Engagement s/he has with your nonprofit added together and multiplied by Time results in the commitment the donor has to your organization.

MathforFundraisers2Total Commitment plus Capacity results in a gift (the bigger either of those are or both are, the larger the resulting gift).

I think these are great!

(Of course, there are still lots of independent variables – such as who asks for the gift, how the fundraiser acts, if the project or amount is the right one for that donor.)

As you are thinking about the donors you work with, are you ensuring they are getting enough knowledge or understanding about your charity?

Are you providing enough access points or opportunities for engagement, whether as volunteers, participants or via your website or communications? Is the engagement meaningful to that particular donor? (One size does not fit all.)

Are you allowing enough time for the relationship to develop?

Many fundraisers intuitively understand these precepts, but the equations are handy to help others throughout your organization understand why going for the “quick transaction” won’t build long-lasting donor relationships that result in satisfying impact – for the donor and nonprofit.

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