Are The Pyramids Disappearing? Today’s Donor Experience

The Great Pyramids have been in existence for millennia and they aren’t going any place, at least in our lifetimes.

There is a great deal of angst right now about how donors will be responding during this last quarter of the year. With all of the disasters that have occurred, some organizations can be dramatically impacted by “donor fatigue”. In addition, with the social upheavals that have been growing around various inequality, human and civil rights issues, many individuals are becoming highly engaged in activism and advocacy, particularly those identified as millennials. There is some great data available in the 2017 phases of The Millennial Impact Report.

So what impact does this have on your donors and on giving in general? I would like to take a look at this through the classic Donor Pyramid. Some say the donor pyramid is dead, some call it a funnel now- regardless, it is clear that there are different approaches required to engage and maintain donor relationships. Here is a provocative look at these concepts by McCabe Callahan.

There are some takeaways for those of you making the transition from where you are now to the new realities.

What has changed?
• Entry points- people come to your organization in a variety of ways- not just a direct mail solicitation, asked by a friend or because you have a “good name” in the community
• What people give- time, talent and treasure- leaning heavily on the first two
• How people give- electronic- need I say more?
• Strong links to activism and advocacy

What hasn’t changed?
• People who are engaged will give
• People will give to things they care about most
• Major/Planned Gifts are still viable options

What can you do?
• Keep an open mind to creating awareness- there are many tools available
• Use a variety of methods to tell your story and make it personal
• Allow people to connect in the most comfortable way for them
Don’t chase the money– stay true to your mission- don’t morph into something that is not your core- just be sure to know what your core is!

Keep telling your story and when times get tough, donors will respond. Just ensure you are making the transitions that allow them the opportunity to help you in ways most comfortable for them. If you build your organization around these concepts, you will weather the “storms” and create new opportunities to involve people who really love, appreciate, and support your work. When you take this view as a continual transformation, you will position your organization to last a long time, like the pyramids. Want to transform your organization? Let us show you how.