Have you googled “fundraising thermometer” as a fundraiser needing to track progress? Are you looking for a quick way to see your progress but also understand your fundraising potential? Maybe you're searching for the wrong thing.
Traditional fundraising thermometers offer a snapshot of your donors’ generosity and the progress you’ve made toward your fundraising goals. They give your volunteers quick answers to the question: How are we doing? But they don’t show:
- Where donors are giving compared to their capacity
- The number of gifts made during the campaign period
- The number gifts still needed at each level
- How many prospects you still have in the pipeline for this specific effort
- How many prospects you haven’t engaged yet
It might be worth creating a big fundraising thermometer and printing it out on cardboard to visualize success at your organization, but it might not be the best tool to use to track progress.
Consider a gift table as the new fundraising
A gift table is a fundraising tracking tool that is widely used by fundraisers. Its quick and easy calculations, easy-to-understand layout, and detailed data points make it a tool that staff and volunteers keep coming back to. Gift tables can help to:
- Craft a breakdown of dollars and donors needed at different gift levels
- Understand dollars still needed
- Show the pipeline of prospects or donors who have proposals or asks at each level
- Understand where your organization’s prospect potential lies by mapping prospect capacity to gift levels
Sound intriguing? Check out our gift table resources that will help you shift from fundraising thermometer tracking to in-depth and accurate gift table tracking:
- Do you want to understand the basics of gift tables and how they can guide your efforts? Here is a quick take from our President and CEO Peter Fissinger: The Fundamentals of Fundraising Gift Tables.
- Need step-by-step instructions on how to build a gift table? Take a look at our Gift Table Guide and Workbook, which includes a sample gift table with the calculations done for you.
- Looking to learn more about how a gift table can help you advance your fundraising efforts? Watch our gift table webinar, hosted by the leaders of Beam Insights.
- Traditionally, gift tables have been used to drive campaign planning or fundraising initiatives. Learn more here: Using a Fundraising Gift Table for Your Special Initiative.
- Are you in the midst of a fundraising initiative and have some gifts to secure to meet a goal? Get advice from How to Close Gaps in Your Fundraising Gift Table.
- Gift tables aren’t just for campaigns! Take a peek at our breakdown on how to use gift tables for annual planning: Acing Annual Planning with a Fundraising Gift Table.