The Fundraising Landscape, Circa 2005
Grant donors choice and control
Donors have become more discerning, particular and demanding. They want choice and control over their philanthropic relationships. This is especially true of donors under 60 years of age.
Think about it. These individuals are more engaged, self-aware and self-motivated, and they bring the same high expectations they have fine-tuned in the consumer marketplace to their charitable giving. They expect quality service and quality products. They want to call the shots, make their own decisions. They expect to have a choice.
Strategically, the most successful nonprofits will grant donors choice and control. They will allow them to set their own communication preferences and choose to opt in or opt out of direct mail, telemarketing, e-mail or other contact programs.
Tap into the ‘middle’ gold mine
Many organizations run effective fundraising campaigns for general- and major-donor audiences, but they neglect the potential gold mine hidden between these two groups.
Mid- and upper-level donors — those individuals who generally give between $500 and $9,999 a year — effectively can be cultivated to give much more.
Tactics that work with this group include thank-you telephone calls and specialized direct mail appeals, or affirmation mailings, that tell the donor how his gifts are being used.
Some organizations even assign personal representatives to these valued donors. The donor who wants — and expects — choice and control now has his own direct contact with the organization to which he entrusts his dollars.
Other organizations have granted involvement opportunities, allowing donors to participate in dial-in conference calls with executive leaders, travel to project sites, gather together for informal conversations and provide opinions and ideas.
As we watch the interests, motivations and demands of donors evolve, a good strategic move would be to more precisely target mid- and upper-level donors, give them choice and control, and increase their involvement opportunities.