You probably hear a lot about mid-level donors, and that’s for good reason. For most nonprofits, these donors represent the single largest opportunity for short-term and long-term growth. Cultivating mid-level donors increases their giving but also cultivates donors who can move into major giving, generates leads for planned giving, and increases overall donor retention, since donors who give at higher levels tend to remain more loyal. All of which can add up to game-changing growth.
So first things first, you have to define who your mid-level donors are. There are three main ways to do it, according to Pursuant. The first is the top 5 percent of your direct mail donors. The second is donors giving an annual cumulative total of $1,000 up to major-donor level. And the third is this formula: 3x average gift x 12 months. Defining mid-level donors will vary for different organizations, of course. But in general, for many nonprofits, mid-level donors are those who give about $1,000 to $9,000 a year.
Now, how do you reach these donors? It’s vital to create a unique donor experience for them that makes them feel valued as individuals and yet part of a community of supporters.
Generally, this is going to be a multichannel approach that could include telemarketing, surveys, in-person visits and more. But direct mail is going to be a key part as well. It’s a different kind of direct mail appeal, though.
Mid-level donors are less transactional and far more relational in their giving than most annual fund donors. This is why standard direct mail won’t work for them. But specialized direct mail can and will.
These donors need to be approached in a unique way that demonstrates the impact, stewardship, and engagement they expect. In general, they respond best when there’s a specific program or initiative for them to fund, when they receive plenty of information (much more than you’d provide for annual fund donors), and when they’re recognized as being part of a group of select supporters. A specialized direct mail appeal can do all these things.
There’s a lot of data analysis and strategy that have to go on before you uncover your mid-level donors, but it will all come to nothing unless the approach to communicating with these donors is the right one. Specialized direct mail is the cornerstone of the program that will engage mid-level donors for greater revenue and retention.