The most sought after gifts come from what are called Society Donors. These individuals tend to make the biggest donations and, as such, are the biggest catch for any fundraiser. During the 2013 Blackbaud Conference for Nonprofits, George Durney and Page Bullington of Marquette University discussed the best ways to secure a gift from a Society Donor. The process should involve a careful, dedicated program of cultivation.
Based on surveys taken at 12 institutions of higher learning over a 20-year period, Durney and Bullington offered the following reminders when going after Society Donors:
- Have patience. On average, it took 13.2 years for a donor to make their first $1,000 gift.
- Keep donors engaged and giving. Those who gave $1,000 in fiscal year 2009 gave in about 73 percent of the years they were on file.
- Have a cultivation plan. Some 57 percent of donors made a first gift of less than $100.
- Establish donor potential. The higher the first gift, the quicker they became a higher-level donor/