Moceanic pop art Survey Question

The Strange Survey Question that Can Help You Uncover Your “Hidden” Major Donors


I could hardly believe it the first time I saw it, but here’s a question that can help you raise a lot of extra money from donors you never knew had the capacity to give large donations. Here’s the question:

“In the coming months, we will have a major push to [do something that the donor is likely to consider worthwhile]. We are looking for leaders to make gifts of $1,000 and up to inspire and encourage others to donate. Are you able to consider such a gift in the coming months?”

Notice how it’s not asking the donor to give now, as we typically do in fundraising. That’s why it scared me the first time I saw it. It’s asking the donor to consider giving this large amount in the future. 

The donor has this range of answers to the question from yes, through maybe later to… not now (how these answers are written is important – think them through very carefully). 

If you are a direct-response person, you might be breaking out in a nervous sweat right now. Isn’t it a cardinal rule to always go for immediate action?

Not in this case. The strategy of this question is to give the donor a chance to consider making an unusually large gift. That’s a much easier request than, Please send a really gigantic donation right now! The answer to that question is most likely to be NO — but the “think about it” question gets a handful of people willing to think about it.

And that gives you two very valuable pieces of information:

You now know about some donors who have the capacity to give larger gifts than you knew about…

… and they also care enough to maybe increase their giving to a new level.

Information is power. And this is powerful information indeed.

It’s all in the follow-up. Within a couple of weeks, you get back to those who answered that question with anything other than “Not now.” You remind them what they told you, and ask them for that large donation.

And you get an amazing number of large donations. Many of them from people you had no idea they had the capacity.

And many of those people continue as donors at that new higher level.

Bottom line: That strange question I told you about leads to a surge in revenue.

I’ve watched it happen many times. Often a record-breaking jump in fundraising results. 

Most of what it takes to lift your fundraising to a new level is a host of complex and often difficult things. That’s life.

But here’s something that gets you there quickly.

Are you interested in applying the magic of this question to your fundraising program? And get some tips on how to use a similar question to create ‘match funds’ to double appeal income in the future?

I know how you can get there. This year.

The easy and almost foolproof path is to talk to the world’s expert on this exact topic, Sean Triner. For the next couple of weeks, Sean is opening his calendar to people like you to talk about this fundraising powerhouse. For free.

Just click here to get on Sean’s schedule.

This is super easy. You’ll have direct access to Sean’s calendar, and you can find a time that works for you. Then you’ll have a Zoom meeting with him. He’ll ask you a few questions, and show you the way toward putting the question to work.

It will cost you nothing, and you won’t be obligated or pressured to do anything. Just a quick conversation with a fun-loving guy who knows a lot about fundraising, especially this tool.

Give it a try. Talk to Sean. You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain for your organization.

Schedule your free 25-minute call with Sean. You’ll get practical, experience-based free advice about raising more money for your organization. Click here to book your call.

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  • Jeff Brooks

    Jeff Brooks is a Fundraisingologist at Moceanic. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, and has worked as a writer and creative director on behalf of top nonprofits around the world, including CARE, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Feeding America, and many others.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Just received a survey that had this question!

  • Nicole Punte
    July 15, 2021 12:43 pm

    This strategy certainly worked for us last year! We had a 25 min call with Sean, implemented his recommendations, including such a question in our survey, and raised $46,000 in matched gifts from 40 Middle Donors alone. Our ask started at $500 and we upped the ask with at least $500 – $1,000 in the survey. We smashed our Christmas Appeal target for the first time in 4 years, thanks to the match. We’ll be doing it again this year:-)


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