Prioritizing Major Donors

By Erik Rogers, Chief Strategist Major Gift Services

Who is the most valuable donor to your organization?

Is it the one who gives the most money? The one who’s the most networked? The one who has been with you the longest?

We recently conducted some research on this topic, and I’d love to share with you some glaring statistics that could change the way you steward your donors going forward.

Here’s how we break it down:

Priority donors

Priority one donors give just once a year. Oftentimes, we’ll see these donors give at the end of a calendar year.

Priority two donors choose to give multiple times a year. They may be monthly donors, give just twice a year, or they may give from quarterly earnings.

Priority three and four donors like to give about every other year, maybe every third year. They oftentimes will give a large sum of money and then sit back for a year or two. They want to see the results before they invest back into the organization.

So the vital question is, if a priority one donor and a priority three donor gave on average $100,000 a year equally, which one is the most valuable to your organization?

The donor that warrants extra focus.

Here’s what we learned from the data:

You want to focus on the donor who gives more often than not. We found that 62.5% of the total revenue for all major donors across all our clients came from donors who appreciate the organization multiple times a year by investing deeply.

Put your primary focus on donors who give the most often. You’ll be glad you did.

If this was helpful and you would like to learn more about building a healthy major gift department, check out our Dunham Institute course Major Gift Development: Managing Expectations.


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Ready to take the next step? 
Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters. Contact Bethany Cranfield at 469-454-0100 to get more information.