Comedian Groucho Marx once opined that he’d never join a club that would agree to have him as a member. It’s a different story with donors.
In her book “Effective Donor Relations” Janet L. Hedrick offers advice about starting a recognition gift club. They can be set up by constituency or specific interest, type of gift or frequency of giving, or amount of gift.
- Regardless of which kind of club is established, however, there are six steps that are necessary to get started. They are:
- Define criteria for membership. These can vary, and no set of criteria is right or wrong.
- Develop benefits for membership. The benefit most often given is the donor’s name listed in publications or in a recognition display. Other benefits could include invitations to events, access to organization resources or gatherings with organization leadership.
- Choosing an appropriate name. Even what the group is called is important: Club, society, council or circle are all possibilities. Some organizations consider the word society to be elitist and consider the word circle as more inclusive.
- Develop a plan. This starts with understanding the objectives of the club.
- Implement the plan. Throughout the implementation phase, development staff will monitor the results of each strategy and modify the plan as needed.
- Evaluate the program. At regular intervals throughout the course of the year, the progress in meeting goals will be measured.