Step 2: Find Your Giving Style 

Keeping in mind the past gifts you reflected on in Step 1, ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your donor comfort zone, how you approach giving, and what you value in a donation.

Discussion Questions

Looking Back

  • Which gifts have brought you the most happiness
  • Which gifts have inspired you to continue giving to the same organization
  • Which gifts have been the most disappointing?
  • Which gifts were you most engaged in? Least engaged?
  • Have any personal circumstances inspired your giving?

Giving Patterns

  • What prompts you to give? (For example, a newsletter, request from a friend, awareness at your local church, participating in a fundraising event like a charity walk, etc.)
  • Do you earmark a percentage of your income to giving, or do you evaluate on a case-by-case basis? 
  • Do you give large sums once a year, or many small gifts throughout the year? 
  • How do you respond to annual/bi-annual requests (such as alumni appeals)?
  • Are your donations one-time gifts or recurring?
  • Do you utilize matching gifts through your employer?

Looking Ahead

  • Are there any organizations you’d like to give to that you currently are not? Have you previously made a one-time donation to an organization, but are interested in getting more involved?
  • Do you currently support any causes that you’re not passionate about?
  • Where are you financially? Are you comfortable with the amount of your giving, or would you like to reduce or increase it?
  • Are you comfortable with the giving patterns you identified in the previous section? Would you         like to modify your habits moving forward?
  • Review the “Types of Gifts” section below. Are there any gift types you have not supported in the past that you’d like to?

Types of Gifts

Before you decide which organizations to support and how much to give, it’s helpful to take inventory of the kinds of financial gifts you prefer giving. Look over this list, and consider each option in the context of past gifts. Do your gifts tend to be program-related, or are you willing to fund general operating support? Thinking ahead, are you interested in maintaining the types of gifts you’ve given previously, or would you like to expand your range? 

General Operating Support: Supports an organization’s operations as a whole covering day-to-day costs rather than a particular project.

Program Support: For specific programs or projects.

Unrestricted: Allows the organization to use funding where its most needed.

Capital: Supports the purchase of property, remodeling, equipment needs, or construction. 

Seed: For newly created programs or organizations just starting out, or to help launch a capital campaign.

Capacity Building: To assist in the development of organizational growth, skills and resource development, and program effectiveness.

Matching: Helps a nonprofit leverage additional donations during a fundraising campaign.

Challenge: Conditional based on a certain amount of additional funds being raised.