A number of weeks ago I had a question about organizing your donors, so I thought I’d say a few words about how different organizations I’ve worked with have organized their donor pools.
As much as I wish we could treat all donors as major donors, we have to take a targeted strategy with different donor groups. Even if you are just a one-person shop, you still need to think about organizing your donors in some way. A small development office will often have a focused solicitation letter strategy for a small group of Major Gifts donors with whom they do some additional cultivation. Often these donors are founding donors of the organization or individuals who have responded with a larger gift through your mailing campaign.
Mid-size organizations seem to divide up the work by positions. You will often see a major gifts officer or team for gifts at the $1,000 or above level (for some organizations it is as high as $5,000 or $10,000). Gifts below $1,000 are often handled by an Annual Fund team that focuses on mailing campaigns, online giving, and large events. Some of the larger mid-size shops have their own business giving and event planning departments.
Large organizations tend to divide their donors in a similar way to mid-size organizations; they just do it on a much larger scale. Many large organizations will develop a middle giving group so you will have annual fund raising, middle giving, and major gifts. Often times, these groups are subdivided into geographic regions or focus areas. A large regional organization may have 3 or more major gifts offices in a state organized by major cities. A local university may organize their fundraising by schools of business, arts, and music.