How the ancient pyramids were built has been shrouded in mystery for 4,000 years.

Fortunately, we know a lot more about how to build donor pyramids … and about donors themselves. In fact, getting your donors to engage and give isn’t really a mystery at all.

It starts with knowing your donors at every level of the pyramid and treating them like heroes — an unstoppable force for good through their giving.

To do that effectively, you’ll need to conquer these 3 fundraising essentials …


Know Your Audience

Reaching your donors requires knowing your donors — their behaviors, giving patterns, preferences, and goals. Rigorous analysis and modeling reveal donor attributes and behaviors, allowing you to shape messaging and tailor strategies. But donors at every level of the pyramid are more than just data points. They need — and deserve — a full donor experience that recognizes and meets their needs.

One way to know your audience better is to create personas. This tool humanizes data and helps you form a picture of who your donor really is. In turn, you’ll be better able to create campaigns that your donors will care and feel heroic about.

Donor Persona Example:

After commissioning a national research study on food bank donors, TrueSense created five personas, like the one shown here, to better target and tailor our campaigns.

Conducting research in all of the vertical spaces we work in helps our clients understand and connect with their donors — and can raise significantly more revenue.

The Survivor

  • Has experienced hunger himself
  • Has a strong sense of empathy with the hungry
  • Gives to “pay forward” the help he received


Offers That Move Donors

Whether you’re engaging a $25, $250, or $2,500 donor, the right offer is foundational to the donor experience — and a successful fundraising campaign. It’s how you raise money for your cause. We’ve found offers that move donors to action can dramatically increase average gift without sacrificing response rate. That means donors feel good — heroic, even — about what their gift will do. The right offer should include these four things:


If you can’t take a photo of what you’re requesting your donor to fund, you don’t have an offer. Whether you ask for $10 or thousands of dollars, offers should be specific, actionable, and measurable.


What’s the “price tag” on the offer? Donors want numbers that make sense and provide value. It’s your job to ensure that the cost lines up with your donor segment. A $250 donor will probably respond to a $250 offer. A $25 donor might not.


This is where your donors REALLY feel like heroes. Make sure your offer shows the good deal the donor is getting, and how much their gift accomplishes.


Good offers are time-sensitive. Giving now is better than giving later. Tell the donor why.


The right offer can be a fundraising game-changer.

TrueSense conducts offer discovery workshops, diving into our clients’ accounting and budgets to better understand where money is spent and what a donor’s gift of even $1 can provide. From there, we move up the donor pyramid to build offers that resonate with every segment. Shown here are three offers we uncovered that brought in significantly more new donors and revenue.


Reach Donors Through the Right Channels


From direct mail and email to broadcast and personal phone calls, there are many channels to communicate with donors. But every channel has strengths and limitations. That’s why it’s critical to reach donors using a multichannel approach to ensure maximum reach and revenue.

Diversifying your fundraising through the right channels is also necessary for increasing donor value and providing a full donor experience. When you do, you engage your supporters on their terms. For example, with email or social media, you can quickly relay important updates, such as a success story, a positive impact, good news about a campaign, and more. And by giving donors many ways to engage through many channels, you’re giving them choices. You’re telling them that their preferences matter. That they are why you can carry out your important work and change lives. This deepens connections and reminds your donors of their heroic part in accomplishing something wonderful.

Reach Each Generation Through the Right Channels

TrueSense dives into donor data to uncover which giving channels donors prefer — such as preferences by age. Meeting donors where they are by listening to them not only provides the right giving channel for the right donor, it tells donors that they matter. That creates deeper engagement, leading to donors who naturally give more ... and give more often.

Reserve your FREE copy of The Donor Promise


PLEASE NOTE: Your 13" x 18" poster print will arrive in 4-6 weeks, ready for framing. Limit one per person, please.

The Donor Promise is a beautifully designed, poster-sized print of inspiring word art. No matter the size of your organization or which causes you serve, The Donor Promise is a powerful reminder of the work you love … and the donors who love your work back.