“Small” Donors

yoav@negevdirect.com 02/25/2008 "Need to Know" for Jewish non-profits
Share This:

Clinton built a top-down fund-raising operation that relied on a core group of donors to write checks early on for the maximum amount, $4,600 for the primary and the general election, which left few of them to go back to when money became tight. Obama, by contrast, focused on building a network of small donors whose continued ability to give has been essential to his success this winter.

The above quote is from a recent New York Times article analyzing the reasons behind Obama’s surge and Clinton’s fade.
It’s a good example for all fundraising professionals to consider carefully.
Do you rely too heavily on large-gift donors, or is your fundraising program more balanced?
Think of your fundraising as you would your retirement portfolio.
For the long run you need a mix of investments that ensure you will make money in good financial times and not lose too much when the markets head south.
In the same way, you need a mix of donors: large-gift and small-but-steady-gift. Those who attend dinners, people who respond to direct mail, and donors via your web-site.
It’s easy to write off the small donors when times are good. That’s clearly a mistake. Ask Hillary.