ways people give


Direct Mail

In many cases, a direct mail campaign is still the most effective way for an organization to raise funds and build a list of donors and supporters with a commitment to its cause.

A mailing is sent to an audience of people who have either given in the past, or who have been identified as likely to respond to an appeal by the organization in question.  The package includes a letter to explain the cause and ask for help, and a response device which allows the recipient to make an offering and possibly participate in other ways.

In many cases the package will also include such items as greeting cards that the donor can send; brochures and materials offering further information and different ways to give; or offers of premium gift items that can be requested in thanks for a donation.


These days many donors will prefer the convenience of giving online at a secure and trustworthy website, via a credit card, debit card or PayPal.  Since this requires only a few clicks or taps on the computer or phone, this option facilitates “impulse giving.”

Online giving can be supported with such tools as a secure, interactive website; social media presence on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; or opt-in e-mails targeted to donors.

Monthly Giving

Donors who want to make a significant gift, but are on a budget, will often be receptive to the idea of monthly (or quarterly, or annual) recurring gifts.  Under this arrangement the donor may arrange to have a fixed amount charged to his or her credit card or bank account at the same time every month, with the option to cancel the arrangement at any time.  This allows the donor to make modest installments adding up to a large gift over time.

Capital Campaigns

A Capital Campaign is a strategic marketing effort by a nonprofit or charitable organization to raise a significant amount of money—usually with a specific, stated goal amount—within a set period of time.  The success is accomplished by reaching out to committed leadership, staff, volunteers and donors with a sense of urgency, creating within them a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to be part of a worthy cause.

Capital campaigns may increase overall giving if done well.  The process of building interest and educating donors will cultivate a deeper level of commitment and involvement from the donors in the organization.  At the same time, unintended consequences may occur to the organization that mishandles their capital campaign by alienating supporters and compromising the organization’s reputation.

CMA will work with you on the best strategies and practices for conducting an effective capital campaign for your need and organization.

planned giving

Planned Giving and Legacy Gifts is a growing segment of giving, thanks in part to the publicity from the Gates and Buffets.  Planned Giving and Legacy Gifts refer to programs by which donors may give a significant amount—either all at once or over time—in a way that is planned, so as to have a maximum impact with a minimum of financial strain.

Planned giving may also be referred to as legacy giving.  The donor is creating a lasting legacy of their own through the mission and work of the organization they support through an impactful gift. 

A planned giving campaign involves educating and encouraging dedicated supporters to leave a gift in their will; making gifts of annuities, insurance policies or other sources of income; or giving modest amounts on a regularly scheduled basis, so that the total gift exceeds what the donor would be able to manage with a lump sum.

Planned giving and legacy giving is a very productive source of income for nonprofits and charitable organizations.  CMA can advise you on what options would work best for your donor base, and provide you with materials to inform the donors of these options and encourage them to participate.



An Annual Appeal is similar to a Capital Campaign in that its aim is to raise as much money as possible—usually to meet or surpass a set goal—in a single “event.”  The money raised is intended to support all of the organization’s work rather than a specific need.  Like a Capital Campaign, an Annual Appeal requires a lot of preparation and significant, usually multi-channel outreach efforts.



Donor Advised Funds are growing in popularity as a way for people to make significant gifts to nonprofits without having to budget each one individually.  The donor creates an account, managed by a public charity, into which he or she can add money which is then eligible for a tax deduction.  The fund then grows through investment, tax-exempt, and the creator may make recommendations that gifts be made from the fund to qualified non-profit organizations.


Special events are frequently a good motivator for charitable giving.  These may be live events, or they may be conducted online or through community groups such as churches.  A special event allows the donor to feel that he or she is part of a team effort, with immediate positive reenforcement and specific goals to work towards.


Some people may offer the gift of their time and talents, in addition to or instead of a monetary gift.  Many organizations need committed hands and hearts as much as they need dollars.  Volunteering is an especially popular option among young people, who want to help the causes they support but often lack the funds to make large monetary gifts.