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How connected are you?

You know who your biggest donors are.

But… who are your BEST donors?

Because in this day and age, they don’t equal the same thing.

Over the last few years, we in the fundraising world have had to shift the way we do the job. Blame smartphones or Covid, or too many online campaigns if you’d like, but these really only accelerated the change.

Fact is, donor responsiveness is down.

Does that mean we can’t bring in as much as we used to? Not at all.

It simply means we need to expend more time and fresher thinking if we want to bring in the big bucks.

One key to success in this new fundraising game?

Stop concentrating just on straightforward donor size. Instead, start focusing on the givers you can call your “BEST donors.”

In English: which among your donors possess one (or both) of the following characteristics: CONNECTIVITY and POTENTIAL?


How to decide if a donor is “connective”? By measuring how able - and how willing - he is to influence others to join him in giving.

How big is his network? And how much is he willing to do to mobilize that network in support of your cause?

The world today is more interconnected than ever. It’s built on social networks (physical and digital) and powered by word of mouth (well, keyboard).

Especially now that so much fundraising is happening online, the game has become largely about “engagement” and “nurturing” and “building an audience.”

A “connective” donor’s massive value lies in how much of a larger network he can grant you access to. How many more people he can help you “engage with,” “nurture,” and convert into your audience.

Not sure you’re buying this? Take a look at some data I culled from working on several online campaigns in the past few years.

What I found was that the biggest percentage of campaign gifts weren’t gathered by the largest donors.

Usually, it was one very well-connected donor who inspired several other people to join him in donating - and brought in between 10% and 25% of the total amount raised.

Because of these “connective” donors, organizations managed to raise more than they ever had before.

So. Even if they’re not your biggest givers, invest all you can in your best-connected donors. They can do incredible things for your bottom line, even if they’re not the ones writing every check.


It used to be, you sized up a donor based on the giving capabilities they showed NOW.

Today, though, it pays to look at things differently.

Why? Because the rate at which people get rich has sped up exponentially.

They’re building very profitable businesses very quickly. They’re selling those businesses even quicker. And that’s not all. More people are inheriting bigger sums. Or becoming the decision makers for other people’s expanded fortunes.

So. When you decide which donor relationships to prioritize, don’t just look at what your givers can do for you now.

Try to project what their capabilities will be in five years from now.

Look at their business. Their general work life. Their family situation. Given today’s super-speedy growth tendencies, where might they (and their bank accounts) be in 2029?

Invest in these donors, even if they’re just “little guys” today. Because soon enough, they’ll be “big guys.” And it’ll be too late to develop the kinds of relationships you have the opportunity to build now.

So many organizations I’ve worked with have seen this mehalech bear fruit to the tune of massive donations.

Join the club!

Clear on who your BEST donors are now? And how to identify BEST future donors?

Find them. Comb through your current base. Reach out to prospects who seem to fit the bill. Cultivate them.

They’re this decade’s key to fundraising success.

Have a great week,


Copyright © 2024 Avraham Lewis & Co.