Menu Close

The Ask Guessing Game - Won!

How do you make sense of the tangle of available donor research to value your major donor pipeline and arrive at Ask amounts that deliver? Gut feel and hope for divine good fortune are not enough. Guessing can leave money on the table and even harm a donor relationship. With the Major Donor Calculator you can win the guessing game and make every Ask count!

Make Every Ask Count

Abacus™ Major Donor Calculator is a methodical planning tool that quantifies expectations for major fundraising efforts and related individual Asks specific to your organization. It is accurate and predictive for:

  • Bold yet respectful 3-year pledge Asks and highly predictive Pledge Goals
  • Donor pipeline valuation and prioritization
  • Gift officer portfolio valuation, readiness, and management

Intuitive. Proven. Credible.

The Calculator uses a methodical, intuitive, and proven process that normalizes philanthropic capacity estimates and computes bias-free donor data relevant to your organization. The result is guidance on your readiness to make a request, a credible 3-year pledge Ask amount, and a Pledge Goal you can expect.

Summary of Real World Results (n=22)


Median Pledges from $10,000-$1M

Real-World Outcomes

The Calculator’s aspirational Asks and expected Goals are credible, accurate, and predictive of Actual Pledge outcomes. The Calculator normalizes traditional wealth service philanthropic capacity estimates that often vary widely.

See Individual Outcomes

Validated by


advancement officers²

Used and valued for over

5 Years

by private clients

¹Individual results will vary.
²Validated over eight years using two donor case studies to be within 5% of advancement officers’ median Ask responses that wildly varied from $25,000 to $250,000 and  $155k to $2.95M, respectively.

An Advanced Major Donor Pipeline Planning Tool

At the core of every successful advancement program is an intentional effort to build and prioritize a major donor pipeline and optimize major donor giving. The Calculator offers a powerful predictive tool to advancement offices for pipeline planning and gift conversation preparation.

Calculator predictive planning uses

Summary of Plans

Basic Ask
(Free Version)

Prepare for Bold Asks with Greater Readiness & Confidence

  • Up to 3 profiles/month
  • Basic Ask Results, Library, and Support

Pipeline Planner

Plan & Predict Major Donor
Outcomes Better

  • Unlimited profiles
  • Full Ask & Goal Results
  • Full Planner Library


Even Greater Ask Confidence &
Giving Predictability

  • Choose a sector with additional profile inputs for greater donor specificity


Management Visibility For
Team Productivity

  • Multiple users & locations
  • Management View
  • Team Training & Support


Ensure Client Success with a
Structured, Aligned Approach

  • Multiple clients & sectors
  • Management View
  • Team Training & Support

Abacus Major Donor Calculator was created by Larry Raff, President of Copley Raff Inc. Larry has over 40 years of serving as a consultant and front-line advancement executive. He has worked with more than 200 stakeholder organizations and as counsel to campaigns from $2M to $200M.

The Calculator was born out of the Master Gift Officer™ program, which improves the quality and professionalism of advancement executives and is credited with providing transformational insights that vastly improve major gift performance.

My Journey to a Smarter Ask

Despite all the wealth-estimating tools out there, fundraisers are still mostly shooting from the hip when it comes to settling on an ask amount. Guest contributor Larry G. Raff walks us through his long effort to devise a better way.


“Abacus, our major donor ask calculator, is the strategic architect of our philanthropic ambitions at the San Diego Food Bank. Much like the instrument it’s named after, Abacus systematically computes the optimal equations for meaningful contributions, turning aspirations into actionable plans.  In the realm of fundraising, it becomes the silent partner, ensuring every ask is finely tuned, maximizing the support we garner, and empowering us to build a more resilient and well-fed community.”  Ines Munguia, Development Services Supervisor,  The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank, CA

“Abacus is the solution that picks up where wealth estimates leave off, to give me Asks that I can count on.” Melissa Kogut, VP of Development, Riverside Community Care, MA

“Larry Raff has brought something to the field that will enable major gift officers and all involved in face-to-face solicitation to achieve at the top of their game. They will have confidence in an amount to request from a prospective donor for a cause in which they believe, a project about which they care, and a person for whom they have complete respect. This new technology, Abacus, enables people to ask the right person for the right cause and, above all, for the right amount. It is a winning combination!”  David Mersky, Founding Partner, Mersky, Jaffey and Associates, MA

“I am not easily impressed; Abacus is incredibly accurate and amazing. I recommend it to anyone engaging in a campaign or working in major donor fundraising.” Lauren Dorn-Jones, Senior Development Officer, Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation, MA

“I am amazed! The wealth estimate was not particularly helpful in this situation, but Abacus literally suggested almost the exact 7-figure amount the donor gave to the Center.” Natalee Martin, VP of Development, Seacoast Science Center, NH

“At last, there is a reliable process for fundraisers to determine Asks and predict campaign feasibility! We are eager to use Abacus with our nonprofit clients to maximize their major donor fundraising and campaign outcomes.” David Garamella, Founder and CEO of The Giving Collaborative, CT

Abacus Now!

Ask Abstracts blog

The Journey to Major Donor Asks

A Confidence Builder

Unlock the Secret of the Happiness U-Curve

Donor “street” research is essential


Abacus in the news | Major Ask Calculator by Larry G. Raff

Inside Philanthropy | My Journey to a Smarter Ask by Larry G. Raff

Select stakeholder organizations and consultancies that Make Every Ask Count!

Asks You Can Count On

Specific to Your Organization