Donor Pyramid – the American Way (3/2015)

It’s possibly the oldest and best-known scheme in fundraising. Probably, it was already known among the ancient Egyptians. The donor pyramid. Its statement is as easy as simple: Donors can and should be “built up” slowly, so they give through continuous relationship building step by step higher donations. With some we fundraisers will be hopefully so successful that they leave us a good legacy.

That sounds nice – and tedious. That’s why many US-organizations simply take a shortcut. They gather people who are interested in their mission. Search among those for the “high potentials”, i.e. the rather wealthy, cultivate them – and raise them at best right away to the top of their pyramid. 90 percent saved in costs, time and energy!

For example: the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A supporting membership is offered for a “cheap” 85 Dollar. Actually, you can hardly speak of a supporting membership. After all, as a supporting member you are enjoying free admission to the museum (without having to queue in normal line!), exclusive pre-entry to new exhibitions and heavily discounted tickets for family and friends.

No wonder, the number of MOMA-supporting members is well above 100.000 (!). A nice base to unhurriedly have a closer look on these supporting members – who have demonstrated through their membership a high interest in the museum. And to personally thank the “high potentials” with a nice welcome package for their new membership …

Spendenpyramide englisch Kopie