Treating all donors the same is like watering plants all the same.

My fennel fern needs LOTS of water. But my feather cactus likes its soil very dry! If I watered my cactus like I water my fern, it wouldn’t be happy.

Same goes for donors. According to our latest study of nearly 6,000 midlevel donors, we identified important differences within the midlevel donor population that divide them into three distinct cohorts. We call them All Business, Engagement Seekers and Hands-On Donors.

Three profiles

Today’s post focuses on those All Business donors or the cacti of the donor world.

As the name suggests, All Business donors are happy to be left alone, and are likely to renew their gifts with minimal stewardship efforts. Like cacti, they don’t need a lot of water.

It’s actually very possible that for members of this group, some stewardship outreach could be counter-productive, such as phone calls and invites to events.

These donors likely:

  • Give one time per year, every year.
  • Don’t open many, if any, emails.
  • Throw away mail including stewardship pieces without much of a skim.
  • Have asked you to send them less outreach and are frustrated when you don’t listen.
  • Respond to an annual renewal.
  • Appreciate a timely tax receipt and the Annual Report.

To help this cohort thrive, we encourage you to provide options that let each midlevel donor customize their relationship with you including asking them about frequency and types of communications they prefer. That way, you can identify those All Business donors and treat them accordingly.

Asking donors how they want to be treated is like getting specific water and care instructions for that picky orchid. Follow the steps and it will bloom and bloom and bloom!


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