If there’s one thing I’ve learned from spending decades in the fundraising world, it’s that having the opportunity to accelerate your organization’s impact starts by building a healthy and sustainable funding model. An organization can only go so far without a solid donor pyramid to support the growth.
The first step to building a healthy and sustainable funding model is to intentionally focus on cultivating and upgrading the “middle” of your donor pyramid. However, there are certain “excuses” I’ve heard over the years that keep nonprofits from cultivating mid-level donors.
Don’t Let Excuses Keep You From Accelerating Your Impact in 2015
Here are three reasons why many nonprofits struggle to build a healthy donor pyramid:
Excuse #1:“There’s too much opportunity at the top of the pyramid. It isn’t cost-effective for major gift officers to give personal attention to other prospects.”
The truth is, while having a great deal of major donor candidates is very exciting, those donors in the “middle” of your pyramid are the future of the organization. The sooner they are cultivated, the more likely their future donations will go to your organization rather than another.
Excuse #2:“We already receive a few mid-tier gifts through other channels like mail and phone. We just don’t have the manpower to effectively engage them.”
Reaching mid-level donors effectively is easier than you may expect. With the right donor analysis and case for support, there are many different ways your organization can begin to engage those donors in the middle of your pyramid. For example, launching a digital fundraising campaign with personal URL appeals is an incredibly effective and efficient way to engage potential mid-level donors.
Excuse #3:“We want to improve our donor pyramid, but we just don’t know where to start.”
This is probably the most fair and honest reason your organization may not be upgrading general fund donors.
A donor upgrade strategy adds shape and function back to your donor pyramid, helping you lift general fund donors as well as build your pipeline of major donors. If the middle of your donor pyramid is lacking, you need an intentional strategy for developing it.
Don’t make excuses. Instead, look for ways to leverage what you know about your donors in the middle of your pyramid. With the right information and approach, any nonprofit organization can build a healthy donor pyramid by effectively engaging and upgrading them.