The Donor Pyramid is a tool for helping nonprofits understand their fundraising approach and evaluate its effectiveness.
The Pyramid works by categorizing donors based on how often they give to your organization, from once-in-a-lifetime gifts down to individuals who make small donations each year. Each level of giving has different expectations and costs associated with it. Using this tool can help you develop strategies for increasing your revenue over time.
A Donor Pyramid helps you see the relationship between one-time, annual, and major gifts.
The Donor Pyramid is a framework for understanding the relationship between one-time gifts, annual gifts, and major gifts. One of the most common misunderstandings about donor relationships is that all donors are the same—they aren’t! If your goal is to increase giving, it helps to use a Gift Range Calculator to help you develop your gift ranges in your pyramid.
One-time Gifts: The bottom of the pyramid are those who give one time only. These are typically transactional donors who purchase something from your organization or respond to an event invitation.
Annual Gifts: Annual donors make up most of the donor base. They often represent a significant percentage of income for any nonprofit organization. They donate monthly or annually and engage with us throughout the year via phone calls or emails. You may ask them to help continue your work as well as invite them to purchase tables or sponsor special events like fundraisers/galas.
Major Gifts: These donors have demonstrated their commitment to your cause through their previous giving history. They may be interested in making larger gifts if presented with an opportunity that interests them personally. There is no limit to what qualifies as a major gift. Major Gifts may include annual commitments or multi-year pledges. This is an excellent base to reach out to as you plan your Fund-A-Need to recruit a lead gift.
Visualize gaps in your fundraising program.
The Donor Pyramid helps you to see where you have gaps in your fundraising program. By mapping out all of your donors and how much giving they are doing, you can easily identify which areas of your program need improvement. For example, if a majority of your donors are giving $5-$10k annually, then it’s time to start prospecting to see if some of them can increase their level of giving.
Understand the big picture of fundraising results at your nonprofit.
A Donor Pyramid will help you understand the big picture of fundraising results at your nonprofit. It is a visual representation of your fundraising results, showing how many donors and their gift sizes are represented in each level of the donor pyramid. The size of each layer represents the number of donors and their gift size (from largest to smallest).
The donor pyramid helps you to see where you have gaps in your fundraising program. This can be used as a tool for strategic planning to determine what areas need improvement or additional focus.
We hope this helped you understand how to use the Donor Pyramid to evaluate your fundraising program.