Many studies are being done to understand donors’ motivations and reasons for giving. As nonprofit organizations or as fundraisers, it is important to understand the various kinds of donors, their motivations, their reasons for giving; to figure out ways of engaging them and keeping them connected to the cause. To this end, one must assess where a donor lies in the Donor Fundraising Cycle or Donor Cycle.
As per Guidestar, the key steps in a Donor Cycle are: Identification, Qualification, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship.
- Identification: This first step involves identifying prospects and current donors, essentially meaning looking into the current and prior donor lists to identify the prospects and their potential levels of giving.
- Qualification: This means qualifying a prospect- by conducting prospect research, understanding prospect donor profiles, finding out if the prospect might be willing and able to give.
- Cultivation: The cultivation stage includes understanding the donor’s connection and motivation for the cause, important to plan the opportunities of engaging the donor.
- Solicitation: This step means making the ask. Up to this stage, a lot of work would have been put in to understand the donor’s capacity and willingness to give- so, it is important to customize or personalize the ask to the target donor/s.
- Stewardship: This means building and maintaining a strong connection with the donor- deepening the engagement to ensure getting the lifetime value (LTV) of the donor for the organization- resulting in a win-win.