Part of a healthy fundraising strategy is upgrading your existing donors to higher levels of support. You’ve spent the time and resources to build relationships with these supporters and ask them for referrals. This is the audience to ask for increased financial support, and we recommend asking for an upgrade from these supporters each year.
What is a Next Suggested Gift?
The Next Suggested Gift feature in Engage enables you to intelligently calculate the Next Suggested Gift for each of your supporters and automatically keep those values updated.
Using either totals from Salsa Engage transactions or custom fields representing totals from other sources, Engage provides calculations for a dynamic Next Suggested Gift Amount for any given supporter. Then, use this calculated amount across emails and forms to intelligently suggest that supporter move into the next giving level based on their previous activity.
By leveraging this Next Suggested Gift Amount, a supporter who gave $10 last time could be presented with an entirely different ask than a supporter who previously gave $250, all on the same form with the same configuration.
Next Suggested Gift Workflow
Donation Amounts Setting
Only organizations currently using Engage Fundraising forms and only users with Application Settings permissions will see this global setting.
- Go to your account's Settings page, click on the hammer and wrench icon to the top-right corner of the window.
- Click the Switch To... drop down button.
- Click Donation Amounts.
This setting window contains areas for configuring the Next Suggested Gift Amount and Donation Amount Ask Strings.
Next Suggested Gift Amount
Using this global calculator, you can calculate a dynamic next suggested gift amount for any given supporter, then use it across emails and forms to intelligently move that supporter into the next giving tier based on their previous activity. The Next Suggested Gift calculator runs automatically overnight. You can also manually run the calculator at any time.
It’s important to choose and test different tactics when determining the appropriate Next Suggested Gift amounts for your supporter base. Generally, the idea is to move each supporter up in giving level from their highest previous contribution (HPC). However, your giving levels will vary, dependent upon your supporters’ demographics and propensity to give. A common method of calculating the Next Suggested Gift amount is to simply add a dollar amount, depending on the supporter’s HPC amount. The Engage default calculation reflects this idea.
Under this calculation description, there is an Edit button to the right. Click on that button to edit your Next Suggested Gift Amount Conditions.
Conditions for calculating the Next Suggested Gift Amount are placed in descending order from narrowest criteria to widest, so that once a supporter matches a condition, the logic will not evaluate them for subsequent criteria. Set a default amount for supporter records where the custom field is empty. Calculated dynamic gift amounts may be inserted as merge fields in text elements, images, buttons, and email subject lines. The default calculations in the image below represent the simplest, but also most time-tested and proven, formula for increasing the average donation amount across your supporter base.
If you are planning to use your Next Suggested Gift values as merge fields in email blasts, then it’s important to do your rounding in the calculator itself. That way, the merge fields, dynamic ask amounts, and button values will all match up and will not need to be incremented or rounded in the subsequent steps of setting up the workflow.
Edit a condition by changing the values on that row. Conditions are in the format...
||is less than||$____||then suggested amount is||
After you have configured your Next Suggested Gift calculator, we recommend you export your supporter list (or a portion of it) to spot check the results for any unexpected outcomes.
What Is a Donation Amount Ask String?
On fundraising forms, donors see a series of preset donation amounts to suggest donation values. The button values could previously be set only when the form was composed. Those buttons showed the same values for everyone, regardless of their personal donation history. Making the donation values on those buttons unique for every donor allows campaign managers to potentially increase giving in ways that are relevant to the donor viewing that page.
For example, a donor who previously donated through Engage would see a series of donations that start at 100% of their last or largest gift value and also include button values of 200%, 300%, 400% and 500% of their largest gift value. The actual button amounts would be different depending on whether your last or largest gift was $10 or $250.
Ask String Workflow
Configuring the Donation Amount Ask String
A Donation Amount Ask String starts off at a certain base value and either creates a static set of values that are the same for everyone or are dynamic based on criteria the campaign manager builds into the calculations. You can build different ask string configurations and save them, to copy and use on any fundraising activity. To add and ask string...
- Click the Settings icon (hammer and wrench) in the top right corner of the screen.
- Click the teal-colored Switch to... button on the right.
- Select Donation Amounts from the drop-down menu.
- Scroll down to the Donation Amount Ask Strings section.
- Click the Add Ask String button to create a new Ask String configuration.
Add a unique Reference Name to distinguish this Ask String.
Add an optional Description of this Ask String.
Choose the Ask String Type. The "ask string" is the series of amounts that visitors to this form will be presented with as donation amount buttons. You can use known data about a returning supporter to tailor those amounts based on their past activity (Dynamic Amounts), or you can show everyone the same Ask Amounts (Static Amounts).
Choose a Base Value
Select the database field that serves as the base value for calculating your dynamic ask string. Engage will use the base value to calculate the amount that is shown on each donation button, according to the configuration for each button (either plus or minus a dollar amount or percentage of the base amount). The base value options are...
- Most Recent One-Time Engage Donation
- Largest One-Time Engage Donation
- Average One-Time Engage Donation
- Most Recent Recurring Engage Donation
- Largest Recurring Engage Donation
- Average Recurring Engage Donation
- Supporter Custom Field
- Next Suggested Gift Amount
- Email Parameter Value
To prevent unexpectedly low or high ask amounts, set a minimum value, a maximum value, and rounding for the base value.
Configure Dynamic Ask Amounts
Engage will use the base value configured here to calculate the donation amounts that are displayed on the donation amount buttons.
A supporter who is recognized via a browser cookie or email blast ID will see these dynamically calculated amounts on the form. A supporter who has an empty base value will see the default values configured below. Anonymous visitors will also see the default amounts.
Enter a test amount in the preview box to check that the amounts are what you would expect. Make sure to test very low, average, and very high values.
When a visitor is not recognized or their base value is empty, they will be presented with the static donation ask amounts configured for this activity. You can edit the static ask amounts here.
NOTE: changing a configuration here will not change any existing forms that do not have an ask string configuration until you apply the configuration to the form and republish.
When a visitor is not recognized or their base value is empty, they will be presented with the default donation amounts listed here. These are the same values as if you were to choose "Static" donation amounts. Changing these values will change the static ask string values, as well.
- Rearrange values by clicking the dots at the left of the row and dragging the row up or down as necessary.
- Add new values by clicking the Add Amount button.
- Remove values by clicking the trashcan icon on the right end of the appropriate row.
- Check the box at the bottom to Allow supporters to enter their own "Other" amount.
Click the Save Content button to save this ask string.
Adding an Asking String Configuration to an Activity
To update a form with a saved Ask String set...
- Open the Activity.
- Apply the saved ask string configuration
- Republish the form.