Not all donors are equal. Most organizations are very aware of this and focus additional efforts on wooing those major donors that provide opportunities for huge gifts. Many of those same organizations, though, choose to send the same package to everyone in a donor mailing.

What if I were to tell you that 80% of revenue for a mailing came from 20% of the responses? What if 20% of your donor file contributed 80% of your yearly revenue?

This ratio, 80/20, is what’s known as the Pareto Principle, and it holds true in a lot of situations. It essentially states that 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input.

From a fundraising perspective, there are ways to take advantage of this. All organizations should be putting more effort into getting the most out of their top donors. This should go beyond the few major donors that get phone calls and meetings. It’s writing copy and designing mailings that show the next tier of donors how important they are, and conveying to them their difference from the person down the street who donated $5 once.

It may seem like this takes a lot of effort. The thought of creating an entirely separate program, with different touch points, packages, and tracking all of what goes with it can be fairly daunting. It doesn’t have to be.

There are cheap and easy-to-do steps any organization can take that can drive huge returns on a little effort.

  1. Create a branded identity for these donors

This only has to be a slight change from the current branding. Remember, these people are already donating a lot to the organization and have ties to the logo and messaging as is. It can be as simple as adding a “gold star society”-type of messaging below the logo and telling these donors that they are members of this exclusive group.

  1. Invite donors to join

Some donors will be qualified without any extra effort to be part of the group. Imagine the threshold set by the organization is $100 in the last 12 months. There are bound to be donors who are close, i.e., those donors who have given $75. If you invite these donors to join the exclusive society with a gift above their previous gift, many of those donors who would have given $75 would then give $125 per year. This represents huge improvements in donations from those donors.

  1. Reap the rewards

The people who are part of this group are generally loyal donors who give a lot and are often willing to continue to give that much if not more. By including them in a special group, you not only improve your fundraising but also create further loyalty by recognizing their efforts.

It may sound too good to be true… but it’s not. This type of program is already being successfully implemented by Innovairre clients and is bringing in millions in additional donations that are giving organizations the ability to do more good.

The only additional efforts to make all of this happen are a simple Pareto analysis on your donor file to determine the requirements to be in the group and an additional version in your house mailings. Every organization would be smart to look into the value that those 20% of donors can bring, and maximize their donations to support the cause.

Grant Novins is a Marketing Data Analyst at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. Contact us at; subscribe to our newsletter here; and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.