What are Donor Recognition Levels?

Donor recognition levels are categories of donors based on their donation amounts. These levels are an internal tool and criteria for segmenting donors and an easy way for donors to choose a tier to donate within.

Donor recognition levels give donors clear options on how they can engage with your organization. They present donors with a possible giving trajectory so they can envision themselves donating at different levels throughout their donor journey

Even more, donor recognition levels guide the way your fundraising team segments and move donors from one donor cycle stage to the other.

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Keeping track of donor data is essential to effective fundraising. Use this template to record and track important information about your major donors and prospects.

How to Determine Your Nonprofit’s Donor Recognition Levels

1. Create an exclusive club

Create an exclusive group for donors that makes them feel like they are a part of something special and meaningful—because they are!

Many organizations will call these ‘societies,’ such as ‘The President’s Society,’ but you could call anything that evokes a sense of belonging or exclusivity. For example, people who donate monthly to The Space Foundation become a part of the Constellation Club

Depending on the size of your organization, you may create a different society or club for each donor type or stage.  For example, you may have a monthly donor club and a separate club for annual donors.

2. Let donors choose their donation tiers

Donation tiers refer to the different levels at which your donors can choose to give. They are usually based on the donation amount or gift range and can be used to direct donors to make contributions based at a level that they are most comfortable with. 

Nonprofits can incentivize donors to give at certain tiers by offering a recognition type or engagement activity for each tier. For example, donors who give at a certain level may receive discounts on the tickets for the next gala event. 

Consider naming your tier in a way that donors can easily navigate the levels. So, they don’t end up focusing too much on the donation amounts they are contributing at. A common naming scheme is “Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum.”

3. Highlight the impact of each group and tier

Communicating impact is one of the best ways to get donors on board. Determine the impact for each donor group or donation tier and use that in your title or as part of the description for the group or tier. 

By showing donors the impact of their contribution, you can incentivize them to give a certain level. For example, the Space Foundation breaks donation tiers down by describing what each donation funds.

NASA's Space Foundation Shows the Impact of Each Donor Level
NASA’s Space Foundation Shows the Impact of Each Donor Level

4 Ideas for Setting Up Donor Levels

1. Create donor levels based on programs 

If your organization has multiple programs, you could separate each donor recognition level by the program it will fund. The programs that cost less to run would be the lowest tier, working your way up to your most expensive program.

2. Use popular names for each donor level

Nonprofits can use the names of pioneers in their field to inspire and attract donors. For example, a kid’s science camp might name each donor level after a famous scientist. 

3. Give rewards for each donor level

You can offer a gift as a form of recognition for each donor level. For example, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses this method in their Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser

Heart and Stroke Foundation incentivizes each donor level with gifts.
Heart and Stroke Foundation Incentivizes Each Donor Level With Gifts

4. Use mission-based naming formats

You could name each donor level based on the mission those donations will fund. For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters has named the donation levels for their matching program; Match Makers, Big Givers, Match Defenders, and Champions of Potential. These names are on brand and directly relate to the mission of their programming.

How to Use KIT to Manage Donor Recognition Levels

KIT’s data insights can help you create, manage and learn more about your nonprofit’s donor recognition levels. Here’s how:

1. Determine the donation amounts for each donor level 

KIT can predict your supporters’ donation amounts based on their giving history. These predictions can help you create different donor recognition levels. They can also help you determine where you should put the cut-offs for each level. You should start a new level just after a common donation amount that incentivizes donors to donate just a little more. 

For example, if KIT indicates that most of your donors will pay $150 for an upcoming, you may want to create a new level starting at $200 to incentivize donors who give $150 to consider donating $50 more to get to the next level.

2. Assess each donor level’s demographics

KIT’s contact insights tell you each donor level’s demographics, such as donor wealth, background, capacity give, amongst other indicators. This information can help you tailor your communication and stewardship approach to each donor recognition level.

3. Track donor levels on KIT dashboard

KIT comes with a customizable AI-powered newsfeed where you can set specific goals for each donor level and monitor your progress. You can track KPIs such as gift size, donor list size, and donor churn rate for each donor level all in one place. This way, you can adjust your donor level parameters as soon as the need arises. 

Donor recognition levels help you show your gratitude to donors and offer them valuable information and exclusive access to your organization. If you’re looking to set up donor levels for your nonprofit and make the most of them, consider getting started with KIT today.

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