October 10, 2013; Agents of Good


You know the familiar fundraising pyramid. It’s the one with “one-off” gifts at the base and the “ultimate gift” or bequests at the pinnacle. It has been attributed to Robert and Joan Blum of Blum Associates, and it’s a staple of almost every textbook, seminar or presentation on the basics of fundraising.

The problem with the fundraising pyramid, according to John Lepp, a blogger for the Agents of Good, is that it focuses nonprofits on one thing: how much money this will donor give us. The new “love” donor pyramid he proposes focuses only on the love a donor gives. Lepp offers a heart-shaped diagram to prove his point.

The job of fundraisers is “to give and provide more reasons/inspiration for the donor to love, feel committed to, and realign themselves and their values” with a cause. Focusing on a love pyramid forces the nonprofit to acknowledge and embrace all gifts and to allow donors to “love back with all of their hearts.”

What the metrics will be to satisfy the data aficionados, he doesn’t say.—John Godfrey