April 03, 2012

Don't Expect Too Much From Monthly Donors

Donors who give every month to charity aren't very likely ever to make a big gift.

Penelope Burk, president of Cygnus Applied Research, said in a study of donors she asked: "Does being a monthly-gift donor cause you to be more likely to entertain a major-gift ask?" The answer, Ms. Burk said, is "No."

That doesn't mean there's no point in trying to convert some monthly donors into big contributors, but expectations should be low, she said. The smart plan is to look in other places to find wealthy people with the potential to give large sums.

"The best strategy to close major gifts or planned gifts is not to draw donors from existing feeder programs," Ms. Burk says.

E-mail Raymund Flandez.