The Donor Pyramid is a complex visual analysis that categorizes prospects by their potential engagement level. You can use it to: 

•    See your campaign goals;

•    Understand your giving levels;

•    Know how many gifts and prospects you need at each giving level; and

•    Understand if you have enough current prospects or donors at that level.

This article will walk you through the process of creating that pyramid. 

Checklist of steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Determine your campaign
  • Step 2: Go to Donor Pyramid
  • Step 3: Tell us your fundraising goal
  • Step 4: Click Create Donor Pyramid
  • Step 5: Name your campaign
  • Step 6: Use the "What-If Analysis" to adjust 
  • Step 7: Select a list
  • Step 8: Save your results
  • Step 9: Analyze your results

Step 1: Determine your campaign

Before you begin building your Donor Pyramid, you should first decide which fundraising campaign it will apply to and what your monetary goal is for that campaign. Don’t worry, if things change, you can adjust your goals!

Step 2: Go to Donor Pyramid

Now you are ready to build your Donor Pyramid!

Substep 1: Log in

Substep 2: Go to Dashboard

Substep 3: Click Donor Pyramid

Step 3: Tell us your fundraising goal


  • Note: If you have already completed this step and are returning, you can select your existing campaign on the same page. 


Step 4: Click Create Donor Pyramid

The system will then build your pyramid, showing you how many prospects and gifts you need for each of five fundraising tiers in order to meet your goals:

Step 5: Name your campaign

This is especially important if you intend to build Donor Pyramids for more than one campaign. 

Step 6: Use the "What-If Analysis" to adjust tiered goals

The system will automatically calculate the pyramid's tiers using built-in thresholds and conversion rates, based on industry standards. However, every organization is different and there might be instances in which you differ from that standard. For example, you might have your own definition of what constitutes a "major gift." If you suspect that is the case then you should switch from the Summary view to the What-If Analysis.

There you can you can adjust the Tier Contribution %, the Minimum Gift Threshold, and the Prospect Conversion Rate fields:

Tier Contribution %: The percentage of your total goal that this tier will cover. The total of the tiers should add up to 100%

Min. Gift Threshold: The dollar amount for the smallest gift that is still considered of this tier.

Prospect Conversion Rate: The percentage of prospects who convert into actual donors. In other words, the default Conversion Rate of 25% means that you get one donor out of every four prospects. 

If at any point you conclude that you want to return to the default settings you can simply click Reset.

  • Note: The Tier Contribution is intended to add up to 100% - however, if you do not expect to meet your goal this year and want the tiers to reflect that, you do not have to stick to that rule. 

Step 7: Select a list

Once you are satisfied with your tiered goals, it is time to segment a list. This will be a file that you have screened, and which is stored in your My Profiles section. The system will then analyze that list, calculating the total donations and estimated giving capacity of those individuals, assigning each to a tier, and highlighting the gap between their collective potential and your end goal. 

    Substep 1: Go to SEGMENT YOUR LISTS and open the drop-down menu.   

    Substep 2: Click on the list you want to select 

Now the system is analyzing the profiles in that list and using their information to expand and enrich the Donor Pyramid. Once it is complete you will find three new fields in the Summary: 

Est. Giving Capacity: The totality of what your constituents can afford to donate in five years to all of their interests. 

Prospects Found: The number of individuals in your list we have assigned to that tier.

Prospects Needed: The number of brand-new prospects you need in order to reach your goal. 

Step 8: Save your results

Before you go any further, we recommend you save your results by clicking on the green SAVE button. 

Step 9: Take time to analyze your results

The Donor Pyramid provides a great deal of information, with numerous fields and a dynamic system in which one adjustment may significantly change your next steps and area of concentration. This article has given a basic overview, but you will want to take some additional time just to analyze and play with those results. By using it to its full potential you will be able to identify where you need to focus your time and resources in order to meet your stated goal, the specific individuals you need to cultivate for each type of giving, and any gaps that you need to fill by pulling in new leads. 

For a thorough understanding and additional best practices, make sure to check out our Understanding Your Donor Pyramid Guide