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A healthy donor pyramid is a crucial component to a sustainable fundraising strategy. An unbalanced pyramid could not only keep you from meeting quarterly and annual goals, it could also threaten the future of your organization.

From my experience, 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 they 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. If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out this free resource, “7 Things You Need to Know About Mid-level 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.

What is keeping you from a healthy mid-level donor strategy?

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Major gift fundraising

Tony Smercina

Tony Smercina

Executive Vice President of Fundraising Services at Pursuant
Tony Smercina serves as executive vice president of Pursuant’s Fundraising Services division that provides gift officer services, including the signature Charitable Partners (TM) Program — a turnkey solution for upgrading annual/general fund donors to mid-level giving and beyond.