The top of your fundraising pyramid is just that -- a small, concentrated piece of your whole universe, made up of older, rich donors who, though important, won't be able to add to the strong foundation of your future fundraising efforts...
The top of your fundraising pyramid is just that -- a small, concentrated piece of your whole universe, made up of older, rich donors who, though important, won't be able to add to the strong foundation of your future fundraising efforts. While they’re reliable for contributing large sums of money to help you reach your yearly goal, they are high risk, high reward from an investment of time and resources perspective.
The question to ask yourself, your team, and those at the top of your organization is, “Do we have the base (occasional donors), and more importantly, the reliable core (recurring donors) in our fundraising pyramid to sustain our nonprofit for long-term growth?” More specifically, the question to ask in terms of your current strategy is, “Are we marketing to and nurturing these individuals to eventually move them up the pyramid and become major donors?”
If the answer to both of these questions is no, then your organization needs to do some soul searching, and you need to adjust your current strategy so the answers are unanimously yes. But, have no fear! Here are a few suggestions for how you can shift your focus and turn those shameful "no's" into loud, confident "yeses."
How to Shift Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Focus
Strengthen and grow your core.
No, I’m not talking about doing more crunches at the gym. I’m talking about the core of your fundraising pyramid -- recurring and annual donors -- consisting mostly of the Millennial (20-35) and Gen-X (36-50) generations. This is the most important part of your fundraising pyramid to focus on to guarantee sustainability for your organization in the long run. These recurring donors are providing the most consistency and security for your nonprofit. They are giving often and in larger amounts than the bottom of the pyramid, your base, or occasional donors. Your core is showing commitment to your organization, and as they get older, their wealth will grow along with their donation amounts.
"How do I do this?" you ask? In the same way you’re cultivating and nurturing your major donors. I’m not saying to take every recurring donor out to dinner every month or write 1,000 handwritten thank-you letters. But there are ways to engage this audience effectively in the one-to-many fashion. The key is to be personal and creative, and here are some ideas to get you started ...
Start a tiered incentives program for your core.
Based on how much they pledge each month or year, these incentives are a way to say thank you to your core constituents. They can be anything from a direct thank you on Facebook or Twitter, to free tickets to your annual gala, to a trip to a project site in the field. Giving them something they can boast about is even better, because their friends and family will want to get involved as well, growing your network through theirs.
Communicate and share impact on a consistent basis.
The number one thing donors say nonprofits do poorly is to show and communicate the impact of their donations. By sharing exactly where the money they are giving is going, you’re able to engage your donors consistently over their lifetime. Keep them updated on your fundraising initiatives and share pictures of projects in progress or recent endurance event results. Send them an email with this information that corresponds to when they make their recurring donation (monthly, quarterly, yearly). This can easily be done with any email service provider, a well managed donor list, and some writing skills.
Ask them for something other than money.
That’s right! Ask your donors for something else besides another donation. While a majority of these individuals don’t have that much time to physically volunteer, they could have professional skills, whether its public relations, accounting, or design, that your organization could use for upcoming marketing and fundraising campaigns. Who wouldn’t want to do what they do best for a good cause? Its great for a young professional’s resume, and it’s g