One big reason to ramp up your major donor marketing

Now’s the time to do more than ever to engage major donors, and here’s why.

The U.S. economy is minting new millionaires at a stunning pace. According to one study, the number of millionaire households shot up from 13.7 million to 16.3 million in just one year, from 2012 to 2013.

And yet, according to other research, the rich and super-rich have cut back on their giving. From 2006 to 2012 — encompassing the Great Recession and recovery — wealthy donors reduced their share of income going to charity.

So, right now, the rich are a vastly under-tapped source of funding.

But here’s the interesting part.

During that same period, the poor increased their giving. They gave a larger share of their income.

Yes, the poor gave more, and the rich gave less. And it’s is even more surprising since most poor and middle class folks were hammered by the recession.

The rich, on the other hand, actually did better during that time. What’s more, the number of people entering the privileged classes continues to increase as the income gap widens.

Which means, of course, that your major-donor prospects keep getting wealthier and the pool of these donors keeps getting bigger. It’s not hard to see that you probably need to pay a lot more attention to high-dollar donors.

One stumbling block is that the rich and poor give to difference causes. The poor give to churches and soup kitchens, but millionaires tend to give to the arts and universities.

But even if your nonprofit isn’t in one of those sectors, you can and should engage wealthy donors. And why not? Why shouldn’t your cause get some of this funding? At first, try something simple like versioning a mail appeal for bigger donors, and then move on to campaigns, including mail, email, events, and personal-contact touch points. Have your nonprofit put on its best suit, shine its shoes, comb its hair, and get in front of these donors. Make your case. The upside potential is huge.


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