10 levels of




The transition from Level 4 to Level 5 involves transitioning from treating Development as a seasonal responsibility to seeing it an ongoing endeavor. Teams at Level 5 begin to update partners through mail and email several times per year. They have also begun to consider their partners as they develop web and social media content. As giving and engagement increases, the team’s budget becomes more and more vision-led. Financial needs are directly connected to the team’s strategic plan so that the overall budget is capable of fulfilling the team’s mission and vision.

Another benefit of growing partner engagement is that it helps you do more ministry. Up until this point, getting partners more involved in the ministry may have felt like it took more time and effort than it would have taken to do it yourself. At this point, your past investment begins to return dividends as your partners enable your team to do more ministry than you could do without them.

As a result of their reliable, annual ministry gatherings, ministry leadership has begun meeting with larger partners and creating opportunities for them to become more involved in the ministry. Most teams will spend a significant amount of time in Level 5, as they build up a group of partners who are giving mid-level gifts independent from a Vision Dinner.







Finding small opportunities for partners to get involved - opportunity is available to all partners.

1 large, in-person gathering of partners. Potentially still doing a small/online event in addition.

Developing mid-level partners and in-person meetings with larger givers.

Quarterly updates & an annual appeal.

Personal Thank You calls/notes to top 20% of partners.

Visibility online and through events.

Partners share positive experiences after engagement.


This level doesn't look the same for every team. The snapshot of the 5 Lanes of Development (above) might perfectly reflect your team's current Development operations, but there's probably at least one area that doesn't fit. In those areas, your team might seem to be further along than this Level or perhaps still catching up. That's okay!

That said some things are true of most teams at this stage. Here's a brief list of things that are probably true of your team if you're at this level:

  • Ongoing Development responsibilities throughout the year

  • Personal meetings with larger financial partners

  • Partner engagement has grown to be a significant key to your team’s success, although most opportunities could be filled by any partner.

  • Partners are being asked to give mid-level gifts outside of a Vision Dinner or similar event

  • Reviewing & re-evaluating strategic plan and budget

  • Setting up meetings with potential mid-level partners

  • Inviting partners to attend meeting, conferences, and outreaches

  • Asking partners to give specific gifts independent from a Development gathering

  • Coming Soon

  • Moving to this level involves a higher commitment of time & mental bandwidth throughout the year on the leaders' part - not all teams are capable of committing this.

  • Teams will need to learn to consider partners when planning events, creating websites, and communicating. This can be challenging if the team has gone a long time only considering their mission field.

  • Create a list of the 20% of your partners by giving potential.

  • Reach out to your organization's professional Development staff to ask for help with developing major partners.

  • Leadership should begin preparing one or more staff members to take over the day-to-day Development responsibilities related to gatherings, communication, and engagement.

©2020 Cru. These materials cannot be duplicated in any form without the permission of James W. Dempsey, with the exception of worksheets and forms. None of these materials should be used for profit.