We’ve all seen this.
The traditional donor pyramid. We find it presented at sessions and read about it on blogs.
And it’s broken.
It doesn’t work anymore.
It forces organizations to focus on one thing.
‘You give us one, tiny, crappy gift a year? To the bottom you go!’
I’ve talked to directors of development whose entire focus is on getting a donor from the bottom to the top. I’ve talked to directors who only give a crap about the people in the top 1/3 of the pyramid.
They all focus on one thing – how much money will this donor give us… and that establishes the value that donor has to the organization.
I present to you today, the brand new, never been seen anywhere, Agents of Good, donor “love” pyramid.
The “new” donor pyramid focuses only on the love a donor gives. (Which is largely mirrored by the love that you show them…)
Consider this from Susan Howlett …
“The top of the pyramid isn’t people with money. It’s people with deep connection to the mission. We’ve all seen instances where people without a lot of dispensable income really stretched to make a significant gift to something that matters to them — to an organization where they feel engaged in the work, connected to the leaders, on fire about the impact. My husband and I have done that, when we were leaders on boards, and we’re not rich. If we think about the top of the pyramid (or triangle) being the people with fire in their belly about our work, it takes the focus off rich people. I’d rather have a donor base full of people without a lot of resources who care deeply, than with rich people who don’t.”
Mind blown – right?
As Simone Joyaux writes in her blog, “The thing is, giving a major gift according to your organization’s definition of a major gift does not embrace all those who are hugely committed to your organization. Those who leave bequests are hugely committed. You might not know about that gift till the donor dies. And even then, you might not consider the gift size “sufficient” to qualify as a “major gift” for your organization. But for that donor – loving you so much that she wants to give after she is dead – I suspect that is pretty major.
The donor defines what a major gift is for her or his life. The donor chooses how to demonstrate huge commitment and love for the impact your organization can have.”
Our job, as fundraisers is to give and provide more reasons/inspiration for the donor to love, feel committed to, and realign themselves and their values with your cause.
Focusing on a love pyramid forces you to acknowledge and embrace ALL gifts and to do your part to allow your donors to love you back with all of their hearts (and wallets).
And that, my friends, is the key. Trusting that the money follows the love.