Who Are Mid-Level Donors and Why Should I Care?
All your donors are important, of course, as are all donations, no matter the size. But donors are different, with different expectations and different patterns of giving. Mid-level donors is an important category of givers you might be overlooking and underappreciating. Learning more about who your mid-level donors are, what they want, and how to meet their needs could lead to greater fundraising success for your nonprofit.
Defining Your Mid-Level Donor Category
As the name suggests, a mid-level donor falls between the largest average donor and the smallest major donor. Your organization’s mid-level category will depend on your own giving details. Here is one instance where using a donor management software such as the DonorWERX suite will help. You’ll need to mine your own data in order to define your mid-level category.
Over the past year or two, calculate the average annual donation to your organization. Take a look at the highest tier of giving to figure out what constitutes a “major gift.” Determining your tiers is not an exact science, but generally, for most nonprofits, mid-level donors are those with cumulative annual giving between $250 and $4,999, though your organization might adjust the floor or ceiling up or down as appropriate.
Mid-Level Donor: Potential Pipeline to Major Giving
Your mid-level donor category supplies the pipeline to major gift giving. Donors rarely jump from the general giving category to become major gift givers. When they are committed to the mission and the organization, they will become increasingly engaged and more likely to invest greater amounts of money.
Your data likely will reveal that though your mid-level category is relatively small in number of donors, the amount of revenue they provide is significant. Usually, this category contains donors in the single digits who contribute funds in the double digits.
Mid-Level Donor: Possible Attrition Due to Lack of Attention
Donor retention typically decreases once donors reach the $1,000 annual giving level. This attrition could result from a lack of adequate attention. Developing a dedicated mid-level donor program can counter this trend and help retain important givers.
Mid-Level Donor Engagement
Many of the approaches to donor engagement apply just as well to mid-level donors. However, mid-level donors have unique needs. Their giving is too large for a general fundraising email marketing campaign to serve them well. But their giving is not large enough to warrant a dedicated major gifts officer.
One approach is to ask them why they donate and what information they’d like to receive. Use their own stated preferences to guide your engagement strategies.
Another tried-and-true approach is to provide more personalized, meaningful engagement and recognition than general level givers might receive. Show them their return on investment, demonstrating specific uses of their donations and their impact.
Do you need help developing a mid-level donor program and pipeline? Contact DonorWERX for a free consultation and suggested improvements to your fundraising programs.
Email teaser: Don’t let your mid-level donors slip through your fundraising cracks. This important category of donors contributes significant funds and supplies the major gift pipeline. Learn how to identify this category and better engage with these donors in this article, “Who Are Mid-Level Donors and Why Should I Care?”
Donor Management Tips and Tricks
Better donor management practices will strengthen your fundraising program, retain more donors, and increase the amount of gifts to your organization. Below are some general tips and tricks to get you started, but for customized advice specific to your organization’s unique needs, schedule a free, 30-minute discovery call with DonorWERX.
Create and Follow a Communication Plan
One key to donor management is relationship building. Like in any relationship, communication is key. To better reach your donors, develop a communication plan and then follow it. You can create a general communication plan or customize communications to different tiers of giving or targeted segments of your donor population. But important elements of any communication plan should incorporate the following:
- Post-donation follow-up: Acknowledge the donation and offer your appreciation and sincere thanks.
- Periodic communication: Stay in touch between appeals. Send communication that does not make an ask, that is purely informational or interesting. This type of communication helps build their familiarity with your organization and helps gain their trust, which in turn improves long-term loyalty. If you know their preferred frequency of contact and their preferred communication channel, such as email or mail, then be sure to follow those preferences.
Improve donor management through use of a giving and donor management software. Good software suites help you organize information about your individual donors, track donations, plan communications, monitor metrics, and launch fundraising campaigns. If you’re not using software to manage your donors and donor programs, then you are missing opportunities, losing information sources, and wasting fundraising efforts.
Engage your donors to retain your donors. Survey after survey reveals that donors want to 1) feel appreciated, and 2) know their donations make a difference. Therefore, you want to let them know what impact your organization makes and how their donation contributed to that impact.
Gain Insights With Metrics
If you don’t know where you are, it’s challenging to get where you want to go. And without actual data about the current state of your donor program and donations, it’ll be difficult to make improvements. If you’re not already measuring key metrics, then start. If you’re already measuring, then take a closer look at your data. From your data you can find informational insights.
For example, examine your fundraising metrics. What is your donor retention rate? Chances are very high that you can improve this rate. How many people donate through your website? Chances are also very high that you can increase this number.
Email teaser: It’s not enough to just ask your donors to give. In other words, effective donor management requires more strategy than a simple ask. Different donors need different things from you at different times. How does your organization accommodate these differences? What can you do differently? Doing the same will give you the same results. Find out a few “Donor Management Tips and Tricks” to help your fundraising efforts achieve better results, and above all, strive to replicate what works.