When we think of Columbus philanthropy, we most often think of notable families like Wexner, Wolfe, and Lazarus, or major corporations such as Nationwide, Huntington, and AEP.
There is hardly a nonprofit in Central Ohio that hasn’t discussed these civic leaders and wondered if their organization could become a recipient of such esteemed philanthropy.
An organization’s gift chart (the pyramid with a few major gifts at the top and many smaller donations at the bottom) most certainly contains recognizable names. But is that really where your organization should start?
Rather, start with your believers. Who is already a donor and what is their level of loyalty?
A donor who consistently gives $1,000 per year may have the capacity to give more and they have proclivity because of their deep connection to your mission. How your organization stewards that donor will be fundamental to future support.
Some things to consider:
- Does your organization overlook smaller dollar donors because your focus is on major gifts?
- Does your team take the time to measure donor retention to know who is giving steadily year in and year out?
- Are your appeals regular enough and do you ask for specific gift amounts to ensure more consistent average gifts?
- Have you engaged donors in non-solicitation conversations to best understand their motivations and interests?
- Has a relationship manager, preferably a board member, been assigned to cultivate connections to broaden the circle of support?
Potential clients sometimes think that big names and big gifts are the only way they will reach their goals. And, certainly, one six-figure gift will help reach your goals faster than hundreds of four-figure gifts, but do not make the mistake of overlooking those unknown names.
Their potential, and impact, may surprise you.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO