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You don't necessarily need more low-dollar donors

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need better ways to determine who has the capacity.
You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need to spend more money and time on getting to know those with capacity.
You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need to put forth more effort toward providing highly relevant, personalized engagement experiences for those with capacity.
You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need to find ways to help those with capacity find meaning in their lives and feel good.
You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need to show your high capacity donors what you did with their money.
You don’t necessarily need more low-dollar donors. You need to ask your high capacity donors to introduce you to their like-minded, high capacity friends and family members.
Don’t get me wrong here. Many low-dollar donors will become high-dollar supporters or they will leave legacy gifts.

But I wonder, are you spending your time and money invested in:

  • Finding new high capacity supporters
  • Cultivating relationships and stewarding your current high capacity supporters
  • Building relationships with your legacy society supporters
     
    If not, why not?

     

    Recommendations:

    >> 8 Core Components of Engagement Fundraising and Why You Desperately Need Them
    >> eBook: How to Generate More Planned Gifts with Less Money and Reduced Resources
     

    4 responses to “You don't necessarily need more low-dollar donors”

    1. When you boil fundraising down to relationships, then all are important. I have seen many “low value” donors over time develop into good middle and major donors. I have seen donors come in at less than $10 first gift give a $10,000 gift down the road. Even the average donor with capacity can take up to 7 years to make that first $1,000 gift. Good fundraising takes time. There are no shortcuts. But in our “microwave culture” we want everything right now. Build a good solid program that centers on building relationships with donors, treating them like the good people they are and you will see results. Out of volume comes value. Don’t sweat the bunches of donors from an acquisition campaign that come in with low gifts. Treasure them. They cared enough to donate. They are your friends. Treat them like friends and you will see lasting fruit.

    2. Greg Warner says:

      Yep. Thanks Christopher. That’s why the article says: “Don’t get me wrong here. Many low-dollar donors will become high-dollar supporters or they will leave legacy gifts.” Agreed!

    3. While I understand your point, that is not the fundraising world in which I choose to exist. It is true that one or two targeted high-capacity donors can be transformative, an organization’s ultimate reputation and success is based upon it core foundation — one where many will champion its mission and value, especially when there are hard times. Successful fundraising is not just about the money. At its core, it’s about engaging people who care enough to do something beyond themselves. A good buzz among “low dollar” donors can open doors to higher capacity donors who actively observe and listen to others. While I understand the need to focus efforts, I believe that every donor is worth my time and attention.

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