Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Newest Group of Donors: The 110% Club

How do we reward great donor behavior?

In our daily lives with donors we have many segments of people to recognize, those are growing by the minute. Many of us have built programs that recognize first time donors, loyalty or consecutive donors, mid level donors and donors of all shapes and sizes. I am always trying to find new giving patterns and groups to recognize and I think I have stumbled across a new segment  that needs recognition and encouragement. Some of the main goals of donor relations is to build retention and to encourage good philanthropic behavior in the future, so how do we expand that theory?

Here is your new segment of the future... The 110% club! Okay, I'm surely not advocating a new giving society or club, we have plenty of those. But instead recognizing a positive behavior and letting the donor know you noticed it. Here's how it works. Last year Ms. Donor gave you $100, this year when she gave her gift, she gave you $110 or $125. Increasing her gift. We want her to know that her increase didn't go unnoticed and we appreciate the extra resources. She has given us 110%. An increase in her gift and a behavior that indicates to us that she is more engaged and we've done something right.

So how do we build this program?

What does the recognition look like?

Good question, April is innovation month for me so I'm still working on all of the details but here is what I imagine it looking like:

Have your data folks pull a list of people who increased their gifts by 10% or 25% last year. We need to know the size of population we're dealing with here: remember data drives your strategy at all times.

Then have your data team pull this report weekly for you with current fiscal year donors. This list should be a tickler for you.

Let's share this information with fundraisers and build a plan surrounding recognition for these folks. Is it a phone call? Email? Video about going that extra mile? Keep it simple because we don't want to overwhelm ourselves but this segment must be noticed... More thoughts on this program as I build it but you can begin thinking about it now.

Do you have a program like this in place? What do you think of this new group? I would love to hear your opinions...

By the way, the pulse of donor relations survey white paper and results should be complete within the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Cheers, Lynne


  1. Hi, Lynne,
    I like your thinking! I can only share that coming out of one of a comprehensive campaign, we worried about the drop in trustee giving in the annual fund. The chair of the development committee and I created the "10-10" campaign. We asked trustees for a two year pledge with 10% increases each of the two years. All came on board with pledges and we planned to use this stepped up giving on other audiences (alumni board, etc.). Just thinking of ways to recognize such a gift, I think a phone call would be appreciated coming from a (scripted) board member, encouraging their conversation as to the "why?" It could range from 1) I forgot what I gave last year.. 2)Got a new job 3) I read a tweet with great campus news and on and on. The tricky part is making it easy to get the report on that call from the trustee.

  2. I love this idea! I have seen campaigns to challenge increases this way, but not intentional stewardship of folks who choose to do it on their own. LOVE IT!

  3. I tried to recognize increased giving to our small arts organization years ago and I was told it was crass. I wish we had had more forward thinkers then!