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Cultivating Mid-Level Donors: 5 Things to Think About

Thursday, July 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
By Kurt Worrell, Senior Vice President, Donor Engagement Team, TrueSense Marketing

You know the value of mid-level donors, and you know you need to cultivate them… but how?

Most of the fundraising that nonprofits do is focused on two segments: general donors, who typically give below annual cumulative amounts of $100, and personal-caseload major donors, who give annual cumulative gifts of $10,000 or more.

This leaves mid-level donors out of the picture, and that’s the problem.

If you treat your mid-level donors the same way you treat general donors, the mid-level donors might give, but they won’t give as much as they could, and fewer of them will upgrade to higher levels.

On the other hand, if you treat mid-level donors like caseload major donors, you run into another problem: Your expenses will soar. Worse yet, you’ll distract your major gift officers from the donors they should be spending their time and energy on – your true major donors.

So, how do you reach mid-level donors and move them to give? And how do you go about converting some or many of them to major donors? Here are some things to consider.

1. Start with your foundation: direct response. Take a look at your current direct response program, and see what’s working and what isn’t. From this, you can create a plan for mid-level donors that uses elements of your current fundraising and is integrated with it.

2. Set up donor caseloads.
With the right plan, mid-level donor representatives can handle large caseloads – much larger than major gift officers – and still create the personal relationships that encourage mid-level donors to give. This helps keep costs down.

3. Create an introduction strategy. You need to introduce the program to your mid-level donors, inform them about the good they’re doing, and acknowledge and appreciate them for their role in your mission. The strategy for doing this will probably involve direct mail, telephone, and other media.

4. Develop monthly touches. Your mid-level donors should receive personal communications by phone, email, mail, and so on. This might even include program updates, invitations to special events like open houses, and other non-giving opportunities. It’s all about engagement – serving your mid-level donors, appreciating them and showing them the impact they have.

5. Analyze and evaluate. Naturally, analysis will help you make good decisions on adjusting and improving the program, and it will also uncover the mid-level donors who are ready to be cultivated to become major donors.

A smart strategy for winning mid-level donors is one of the most important things to do now. With this plan in place, you ensure that your nonprofit will have the revenue base to thrive today and grow tomorrow.

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