Are High Dollar Donors More Loyal ?

Have been wondering recently whether high dollar donors are more loyal than low dollar donors, and while pondering this, an email popped up with a link to an article on this very subject from from Gregory Warner of Marketsmart.

Although it doesn’t show New Zealand examples, it’s worth a read and hopefully I’ll soon be able to share some local examples.

Here’s Gregory’s article …


Recently I made some new friends at The Fundraising Effectiveness Project and they shared some awesome research findings with me.  You can see the first one below proving that high-dollar donors are actually more loyal (stickier) than low-dollar supporters.

I think what this chart implies is this: The fundraising pyramid is dead

The idea that nonprofits should first seek to gain low dollar donors and move them up the pyramid is just not a wise strategy. Low dollar donors are clearly less loyal and don’t repeat at nearly the same rate as high dollar donors $1,000 – $4,999 (at 87%). Plus, low dollar donors are very expensive to acquire yet they are much more fickle. Therefore, they clearly can’t deliver enough returns for the long haul compared to the other givers.

4 things you should do today:

1- Develop a strategy that emphasizes efforts to gain more high-dollar donors instead of low-level supporters.

2- Focus on customer service and retention by providing value everywhere (especially in your engagement offers).

3- Search for ways to move mid-level donors up (again by providing value especially in your engagement offers).

4- Aim for referrals. Encourage your current high-dollar donors to introduce you to other high-dollar donors. This will be the lowest cost marketing you can implement and it will deliver the greatest return for your investment. The ice bucket challenge did this for low-level donors. But most of them never gave again. What can you do to get referrals from major and mid-level donors? Figure that out and you’ll be a fundraising rockstar!

Read the full article here 

Charities Ignore Donor Preferences – Study Says

An interesting read in this article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Charities Ignore Donor Preferences, Study Says

Donors and the nonprofit organizations they support financially have different views on optimum fundraising and communication practices, and that disconnect results in lost donations, a new study has found.

Nonprofits were 10 times more likely than donors to say that their organizations are not communicating enough with supporters, while donors regard the information they receive from charities as adequate or, in many cases, far too frequent.

The study, which also examined differences among four generations of donors, found that most charities use only one piece of information — how much each person contributes — to shape the communications their supporters receive while ignoring other important factors.

About 55 percent of millennial donors, ages 18 to 34, said that text messages from charities were desirable or acceptable once in a while. That percentage declined with age. Forty-two percent of Generation X donors, ages 35 to 50; 24 percent of baby boomers, ages 51 to 69; and 9 percent of seniors, 70 and older, approve of text messages.

And while nearly 80 percent of millennials said they would welcome or accept occasional thank-you gifts from charities they support, fewer donors in each successive generation said so, with only 48 percent of seniors open to getting thank-you gifts from the charities they support.

Continue Reading here

Business Giving

Do organisations focus too much on cash donations from businesses, event though many businesses, large and small, give mostly in other ways?

Many large businesses have formal giving plans and structures, they quite likely have various ways they give, giving staff time off to volunteer, legal or accounting consulting, HR services; and many more.

If we asked around, the majority of businesses who support community organisations, would say they do it because they see it as the right thing to do.

Most business giving, small to medium, could be seen as ad-hoc, given we see larger firms as organised in their giving; with the smaller businesses there appears to be no system, strategy, rationale, or strategic way in their giving.

Often I hear stories about how an organisation has approached a business and asked for X dollars; and what it would mean to the organisation, and then who go onto explain how they can help the business in return.

What these organisations may not realise is that some businesses, not all, don’t always want to be seen as “giving” – seeing any use of their giving as a PR or Marketing ruse as boasting, something they don’t want to be seen doing. They want to do it for the “right” reason.

Perhaps it’s time for organisations to realise that they need to have some understanding about the business they are approaching, and what they may or may not want in return for support. Maybe waiting until the business says, “what’s in it for us?”

When looking at business support, it’s best to do your research, and also understand that many businesses don’t have a charitable giving strategy; make it easy and have a strategy, other than “PR” focussed that will help them make the decision to support you.

What has your experience been in securing business support recently?

As a business what drives you to support?

See also:

Why do business support events?

Business partnering is a two way affair

Increase Your Revenue From Your Donors

Donor Loyalty

How do you keep loyal donors, they’re the ones who support you no matter what – they’re the people you can count on.

But, like any other donor, there’s always the risk they’ll move on.

What can you do to retain their loyalty and commitment to your cause?

Many non-profits expect a high attrition rate after a donors first support; in some cases this can be as high as 65%. That’s 65% of new donors walking away after their first donation; that’s a high percentage, so maintaining loyalty is important.

You need a compelling message, a clear reason why donors should stay with you and, remember it’s about the donor not you. Tell donors why they are important.

How you communicate with your donors can make or break loyalty, what does your message say about you? What does the way you speak, communicate with donors say about the way your organisations operates?

Show your donors why their help is needed, and how this can make a difference, right now.

Trust is what donors are looking for, trust in your organisation and trust in what you are saying. They need reassurance that what you are doing is making a difference, helps others and that the money they are giving is being used wisely.

Are you making it easy for donors to support and communicate with you? One of the biggest turn offs for donors is the way they are treated. If donors feel that they are being treated with indifference or your organisation doesn’t show that it cares about them they will likely walk away.

Another way to turn off donors, is to make it hard for them to support you.

We all like things in life to be easier than it perhaps is, and this is true also when it comes to charity support.

Make it easy for donors to make their donation, does your website make it easy for them? Can they make a regular donations direct from their wages, or by other direct methods?

Another key to keeping donor loyalty, is in building a relationship with them. A receipt for donations received is not building on a relationship, so you need to have other ways to communicate and engage with donors. Keep in mind too that it’s not one size fits all when it comes to communicating with donors.

Some donors will be happy to receive a letter in the mail, others would prefer an e-mail, and others would appreciate a phone call. What do your donors like?

If you’re only thinking about ROI when it comes to donor communication, stop, and instead think about the lifetime value of your donors.

Not sure where to start with your donor loyalty “programme”, look at all possibilities and set up some tests to see what works best, again one size won’t fit all situations and donors.

What are you doing to build donor loyalty? If you support charities, what makes you stick with the ones you support? Share your experiences below.

See also

Donor Retention

Regular Giving

Recognise Regular Donors

Spray and Walk Away – Wrong

Much of the giving done by businesses isn’t planned, it is in the main part just giving as approached with no clear direction, no commitment for the long haul.

Businesses seem to use the “Spray and Walk Away” approach; quite possibly as a quick way to give back but with little thought about how they could be doing more with the same amount of support.

Business giving can build stronger communities, and it’s in this vane of thinking that business should give strategically – but before any business gives it would make sense to encourage input from internal stakeholders – employees should be part of the decision making process.

With strategic giving, a business could do more with their charitable contributions. Instead of $50 here and there, a business could combine their annual giving “budget” to make one or several larger contributions that could well do more for the organisation/s.

When a business gives lots of smaller amounts, they are doing good, but could be doing more (and do it better) if they sat down and spent some time to evaluate where their charitable passions lie.

Any business needs to be strategic with their business giving, and we need to all remember that not all business giving is truly just because it is the right thing to do, a lot of business giving is strategic in that it’s aimed to also satisfy business needs – it’s planned.

Some, not all businesses, give as a way to promote the business, to gain new business opportunities and to be seen as being philanthropic.

No matter why a business gives, it is important to think how it can give in a better, more targeted way.

Make a decision where you want to give

Do you wan to give locally, nationally or internationally

What age group, younger customers and staff could mean a youth based organisation

Staff, have you had staff affected by something

Ask, ask, ask – your staff and customers should all be part of the decision making process. Think Z with their “token campaigns


Create a list of organisations that best match your criteria

Talk with your shortlisted organisations about what you can best do for them

Again, talk with your staff about the shortlisted organisations – are your staff still onboard?

Be part of it

Want to make in impact – show it

Don’t just make staff attend – get involved yourself

Think that t-shirt is too much for you – think again – lead from the outset.


If you’re still unsure about how you are best to give – talk to others in your industry, talk to more clients – you will find the right match, often it’s staring people in the face.

Fundraising – Simply Going through the Motions

Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you?

All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support.

If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and what your next plans are – you’re not engaging with them, and simply are using them as ATMs.

If you’ve been around fundraising for any length of time, you will know that it’s important to treat ever donor as an individual.

With the competition for the “charity dollar” different tactics are used to try and connect with people, and those who know what they are doing are more “personal” in the way the approach their supporters.

Knowing who your donor is, age, sex, marital status, and knowing where they live; gives you the ability to truly “know” them and thus connect with them in ways that will likely have more positive and greater response rate, a better return on investment (ROI) to use business speak.

The knowledge that you have of your donors, their giving pattern, what makes them “tick” means you’re more likely to be able to lower the cost of fundraising by having less “hit and miss” attempts.

Those who are truly good at what they do know how important it is to give feedback to donors, donors want to know that their support is making a difference.

Donors need to know that charity is important, what it’s doing and that if it wasn’t for them (donors) they work wouldn’t get done.

Next time to write, email or contact a donor – remember they have a name, use the right salutation, Mrs Brown may be better replaced with Mary – it’s more personal.

By knowing who your donor is, you’re able to adapt copy to specific donor groups – if you know who your donors are, what makes them tick, use language, phrases and information that hits the mark. What works for one group won’t necessarily work for another group.

As part of the planning for your next appeal, stop, think how you can better engage with donors, it’s worth the little extra effort. And, could improve your ROI. What have you got to lose?

See also:

Pick up the phone and say Thank You

Do you know why people lose interest in your organization?

Have a cuppa with your sponsors

Prostitutes or Clients – How do you treat your donors?

Collaboration is Needed

It’ s often been said that charities, those in the not for profit sector need to work together, that there should be more collaboration between organisations.

Some figures suggest that there is about 170-odd people for every charity in New Zealand; that’s a staggering ration.

Who would, could collaborate; the simple way of looking at this would be those organisations that are like minded, those who share a common visions, geographical location could also be taken into account. Don’t forget that those organisation sharing a common beneficiary could perhaps work better if they worked together.

With a number of organisations working in similar areas, with similar needs unless there is some form of collaboration the potential is there for some of organisations to cease to exist. The charity “market” is no different to any other market – it’s supply and demand; in the charity sector the “supply” could relate to funding.

Annual street appeals, envelope collections, tele-fundraising campaigns and the like are only some of the ways organisations gain the funds they need to do their work. Most organisations would also be applying for grants, and many “like” organisations would be competing for the same dollar.

This competition for funding is making it harder for organisations to gain the funding required to do the work they’re committed to do; and this has the potential to only get worse.

Already organisations are having to look for other income avenues in order to survive.

But funding is only one area that could benefit organisations who collaborate.

Organisations who collaborate will have opportunities to share stories, ideas, this would help each other gain further insights into the work they do, the “market” and much more … a win all round.

Do you have stories of organisations who are collaborating, how did they start their collaboration – what do the collaborate on, please share your insights.

Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Tele-Fundraising isn’t Dead

Recently I’ve heard people say “fundraising on the phone is irrelevant” “tele-fundraising isn’t needed today.”

Tele-fundraising is still relevant and is needed today, it should be part of your fundraising plan, it is also, or should be seen as a way to measure what people think about your organisation.

This article 3 Ways Fundraisers Can Leverage Telemarketing is a good read, if you are doubting the effectiveness, relevance of fundraising it will help you see that it still has a place in your fundraising arsenal.

If you only read the 3 ways the tele-fundraising can be used – do it …

  1. Message matters. Telemarketing is made for urgency. Nothing says “this is really important right now” quite like calling someone and saying those very words. Be specific, be timely and update the script as many times as it takes to keep the pitch as urgent as possible.
  2. Listen to the donors. A phone call can be a mini-focus group, giving an organization the opportunity to make the message work in the most compelling way possible. Take what you learn on the phone and apply it to other channels.
  3. No channel is an island. The value of telemarketing goes beyond the revenue raised on the phone. Receiving a phone call increases a donor’s likelihood to give a gift via mail or online by 20 percent over the next 30 days, even if the call results in a refusal. Bolster a call’s performance by integrating a pre-call email or a post-call pledge follow-up, making the approach truly multichannel.


Are there other ways you see tele-fundraising as beneficial to your organisation – please share in comments below.

See also:

ASKphobia – A Great Term

It’s not you they’re turning down

Tele-fundraising Tips

Fundraisng – Planning is Needed

Why you suck at fundraising


The Great Thinkers’ Guide to Donor Relationships

Great little article, worth a read

“I just wanted to let you know I’ve got a new girlfriend. I’m very excited, because I think she’ll be great for me. When I was prospecting for someone to support me, I asked a lot of girls out, and she’s the one who said yes.

Now that I’ve got her on board, I need to start moving her up the love pyramid right away. I’ll take her out eight or 10 times a year, asking her to pick up the check of course, and after each date I’ll send her a quick email (I’ve already written them all out in advance to save time) thanking her for a good time the night before.

If I do this consistently, I think I can get her to pick up bigger and bigger dinner checks, and after a few years, I’ll have her near the top of the dating pyramid.

Then I’ll pull out all the stops. I’ll send her some real personal letters that I actually signed and quickly ask her to be my lifetime partner by joining my Marriage Society. And then she’ll give me a ton of money and also leave me a big bequest in her will! It’ll be easy, right?

Read the full article

Chuggers – Charity Muggers

Sometime ago I shared a post here that was originally written for 101Fundraising about the way people working to “subscribe” donors on the street behave, how their actions could negatively impact not only on “their” charity but on the sector as a whole.

Recently Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes covered the same topic, it would appear that chugging is still very much in the minds of people – so, here’s what Tim had to say:

Do charities realise the damage street fund raisers do to their brands?

Aggressive charity fund raisers are causing brand damage, argues Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes

The other day I watched an overly aggressive Save The Children ambassador almost knock a cup of coffee from a man’s hand on Sydney’s George Street.

A couple of days after that, I felt thoroughly patronised by an Amnesty International representative during an awkward social exchange in Martin Place.

And last Thursday, a Cancer Council worker rudely interrupted my phone conversation as I walked up Queen Street in Brisbane.

Not that these mercenaries really work for those organisations of course. They’re just wearing the tabards.

Read full article here