Jul 28, 2014
Close consideration and appropriate attention to your giving demographics are important supplements to donation processing. As you put together your list of donors - where, how and how much they gave - you will want to make sure you are proceeding in a way that will maximize their future involvement with your nonprofit. Some components, like mid-level donors or small-amount givers who advocate and successfully refer their friends, run the risk of falling through the cracks.
It's crucial to remind your donors how essential they are to the viability of your work. You may be familiar with the donor pyramid: a model in which donors are ranked based on amount given. The most attention is given to those at the top. The idea is to target the highest-value givers and hope the others evolve to that status. However, this is not necessarily the most effective way to view donor bases anymore, Claire Axelrad, nonprofit coach, wrote on her blog. The debate rages and no one denies the importance of a few large gifts, but fundraising and nonprofit payments cover too broad of a spectrum for that to be the only outlook. Axelrad offers as an example the giver who makes a small donation of $100, but champions your nonprofit, getting 100 additional people to contribute $100 each. In your nonprofit's records, he or she falls in a lower bracket, but could be transformed into a major asset for your charity and deserves the response afforded to a $10,000 donation.
Another example of often overlooked givers is the mid-level donors, widely considered to be those who give between $1,000 and $10,000 a year. This particular bracket falls above the givers on the automated direct mailing list but below those receiving personalized attention and thank-you's. One approach to making the most of these not-insignificant givers is to emphasize stewardship, cultivation and staffing in your fundraising department, Cathy Finney, deputy vice president of strategic services at The Wilderness Society, told The NonProfit Times. Charities should look beyond the standard metrics of recency, frequency and monetary amount to consider the multitude of ways their donors can contribute to their missions.
Much of this can be accomplished by providing the personal touch normally reserved for your highest donors to all of your givers. To some extent, this is just good market research, according to Pamela Grow on her blog. By calling donors to thank them personally for their gifts, you open up the conversation to why they were interested in your charity in the first place. This in turn is a narrative you can use in your marketing to appeal to similar-minded potential givers.
Donors are a huge asset to your nonprofit whether they are making large monetary gifts or spreading the word as advocates. It's important to make them feel appreciated to keep their interest and investment. Send personalized emails or call phones, particularly for people who have been donating regularly for years, even if it's only been a small amount, FrogLoop advised. Alternatively, use your social media presence to offer a shout out or exclusive invites to events. Making your donors feel appreciated will encourage their long-term investment in your nonprofit - it may even move them up the pyramid.