Establishing donor levels improves nonprofit management and member experience

A comprehensive donor management software system allows nonprofits to better understand and categorize their constituents.

Nonprofit organizations benefit from taking time to identify their donor levels and outline diverse strategies for effective communication with each one. Donors in each category give for particular reasons, thus requiring various approaches when it comes to membership.

Nonprofit Hub encouraged nonprofits to separate their donors into levels suitable for that program's special system rather than trying to adhere to the same terms another nonprofit uses. No two organizations are exactly the same, and each must design plans to fit specific needs. For example, a midlevel donor may be someone who contributes $5,000 annually or $500 annually, depending on the nonprofit.

Creating affinity groups is another way ministries can categorize their donors. By assembling a group of people with similar interests, ages or goals, they are given an opportunity to feel like part of a community rather than just a name on a check.

The Nonprofit Times listed several tools for dealing with midlevel donors in particular, but these ideas also apply to low and high-level contributors.

Branding – By assigning a unique identity to each donor level, constituents will have a great idea of their place in an organization. They will consider themselves strongly linked to the overall mission. This identity can also include a contribution range so that donors not only feel free to give anywhere within their parameters, but also have the option of moving up to the next bracket.

Customization – Send out different tokens of appreciation to each level. Perhaps the low-level donors receive a postcard while high-level donors get a phone call. Develop perks as well so that after giving or joining, donors may see their names on a plaque or receive gifts in the mail.

Renewals – At the end of each year of membership, give donors the opportunity to stay in their current levels or adjust based on their needs and wealth.

As Women in Philanthropy outlined in its report on "Strategies for Mid Level to Major Gift Donors," establishing levels will give a sense of stability to the donor experience. It also benefits the organization, as the nonprofit will be able to better identify prospective donors and help increase contributions from current members.

Utilizing a donor management software system will give ministries the power to accurately identify their donor levels and incorporate them into their regular business practices, paving a smooth path towards financial success and good contributor relationships.