Donor milestones are important. Recognizing them is a powerful way to nurture and strengthen relationships with your donors. Acknowledging these times helps to turn milestones into a real pathway to donor cultivation. Think of the following as stepping stones:
Identifying and recognizing these milestones is critical. For example, you can recognize the donor who is just $100 away from $5,000 in lifetime giving or 2 gifts away from his 50th gift to your nonprofit (and encourage him to reach the next plateau or milestone).
3 keys to using milestones:
Make sure your data is accurate.
Recognize and acknowledge in a timely fashion.
Have a plan that turns milestones into eventual next level gifts in donor cultivation.
There are many opportunities to turn milestones into cultivation opportunities (stepping stones). We’ve all heard stories about the donor who leaves a huge legacy gift to an organization, much to the surprise of the major gift officer. Organizations paying attention to milestones would have recognized this donor earlier on as a “modest donor,” but also as one who had given between, say, 30-50 times over her lifetime.
Recognizing milestone behavior can benefit your nonprofit in many ways including identifying donors with a strong affinity to the organization. These donors will often choose that same nonprofit when making their planned giving decisions. To effectively use milestones, it is necessary to have a database system that will automatically calculate milestones and alerts (for staff) when a donor has reached or is about to reach a key milestone.
Please share with us what milestones you recognize regularly.