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Fundraising Training Exercise: The Gift Is Just the Beginning

Excerpted from Train Your Board (And Everyone Else) to Raise Money

Engaging donors after they give allows you to tap into their skills and relationships and increases their commitment to your organization. By developing an "involvement menu," you can provide more opportunities for board members and other volunteers—especially those who don't want to ask for money—to participate in fundraising.

Why Do This Exercise?

If you don't effectively engage your donors after they give, they won't give again

Use This Exercise When

You want to focus attention on the best ways to thank and recognize donors

Time Required

About 20 minutes


Anyone involved with your fundraising campaign: some combination of board, staff, and volunteers


A space large enough to accommodate several small groups of three to five each


Flip chart paper and markers

Facilitating the Exercise

  1. Ask the participants to form small groups of three to five. Their task is to brainstorm ways to involve donors once they've made a gift. Give each group about five minutes to complete this work. To provide a sense of the possibilities, here are a few examples:
    • Invite supporters to educational events
    • Ask for advice
    • Encourage them to host a house party
    • Ask for referrals and introductions
    • Ask donors to join a committee
  2. Once participants have completed this task, ask them to review their lists and select their three favorites. Give them two minutes for this task.
  3. Reconvene everyone and have each small group report their three best ideas, writing their answers on a sheet of flip chart paper. If participants have other favorites that didn't make the top-three list, ask for those as well.
  4. Debrief the exercise using some combination of the following questions:
    • Name a few organizations that do a good job engaging their donors after they give. What can we learn from them?
    • As a donor, which of these strategies would be most appealing to you? Why?
    • How can we take this list and personalize it for each of our most generous supporters? What are our next steps? (One idea: organize a round of phone calls or visit with donors to share the list and ask if and how they would like to be more involved.)

Visit the website for this book

Fundraising-Training-Exercise-The-Gift-Is-Just-the-Beginning_Andrea-Kihlstedt.pngThe preceding is a guest post by Andrea Kihlstedt. She has served the nonprofit sector for more than 30 years as a fundraiser, trainer, consultant, teacher, writer, and speaker. She has trained nonprofit boards and staff throughout the United States on effective major gifts fundraising, capital campaigns, and how to ask for gifts. Kihlstedt is cofounder (with Gail Perry) of Capital Campaign Magic, providing online learning about capital campaign fundraising.

Fundraising-Training-Exercise-The-Gift-Is-Just-the-Beginning_Andy_Robinson.jpgThe preceding is a guest post by Andy Robinson. Andy provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, grantseeking, board development, marketing, earned income, planning, leadership development, and facilitation. Andy has worked with organizations in 47 U.S. states and Canada and is the author of six books. 

Topics: Fundraising