The Best Donors
Who are your best donors and how well do you know them? It is easy to say who the biggest donor is. But, is that person the best donor? What is your definition of a "best donor"?
| Posted in Fundraising on Oct 26, 2010 by
|| 1 Comments |
The definition of "best donor" depends on your goals. If it is a time of financial stress, the best donor is the one who writes the biggest check. All of the large donors are automatically inducted into the "best donor" club.
It is often hard to keep these donors giving or giving generously when the time of stress is over. They enjoy being the knight in shining armor that helps save the cause. Then they sometimes sit back and wait to see the organization prosper because that tells them that their gift was effective.
It is wonderful to have those donors. They are critical during a crisis. While they are an aid to survival, they seldom play a major role in sustainability.
The big-crisis donor may also cause some of the small, consistent donors to disengage. The white knights receive significant attention because of the immediate impact they have. This causes some of the small donors to feel under appreciated or unappreciated. It can cause them to feel that their small gift is ineffective. In this case, the white knight reduces long-term sustainability by reducing the support system (small donors) that is critical during the normal times and critical for long-term sustainability.
All this leads one to conclude that avoiding a crisis is the best way to increase sustainability. This implies that the donor base must be growing both in number of donors (horizontally) and donor generosity (vertically). The multi-dimensional grow of the donor base at a rate faster than the growth rate of the organization plus inflation ensures long-term sustainability.
When we think about the long-term best interests of the organization the "best donors" are the ones who have a long giving history of increasing generosity. How well do you know those donors? Do you pay enough attention to them (regardless of the size of their gift) to ensure they will continue to give? What are you doing to ensure that they feel like they are a partner in the mission? Are you helping them find an ever-increasing number of reasons to increase their gifts?
- Focus on creating more and more generous "best donors"
- Learn what each of your "best donors" responds to in your mission
- Segment your communications to highlight the parts of the mission that resonate with the different donor segments
Have goals, create plans, and build processes that will create horizontal and vertical growth in your donor base. It is the best form of crisis avoidance insurance available.
When will the horizontal and vertical growth of your donor base begin?
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