Last week in part one of the #midlevelgiving series, we outlined a mid-level giving program, the threshold of a mid-level giving program, and why it’s important to have one at your organization. This week, we will go over how to start a mid-level giving program and how to find mid-level giving donors in your donor database.
How to Start a Mid-level Giving Program
Mid-level giving programs are great for engaging your mid-tier donors and building a pipeline to major gifts. But how do you start a mid-level giving program at your nonprofit?
In part two this week, we talk about starting a mid-level giving program at your nonprofit including:
- How to define your mid-level giving audience
- How to find your mid-level donors
- How to steward mid-level donors
How to Define Your Mid-level Giving Audience
The great thing about mid-level giving is that you can tailor a mid-level giving program to your nonprofit. This includes how you define your mid-level giving audience.
Size of a Mid-level Gift
The size of a mid-level gift will differ from nonprofit to nonprofit. At many large nonprofits, like hospital foundations and academic institutions, mid-level giving starts at $1,000, but many smaller nonprofits start their mid-level giving program at $500 or even $350. As we discussed in the first part of this series, your mid-level giving program is a bridge between annual donors and major donors, so you need to choose a comfortable middle ground for your giving criteria that builds a strong pipeline into, and out of, major gifts.
How to Find Mid-level Donors
The best place to find mid-level donors is in your database! Your mid-level giving program is not an acquisition strategy so you need to look at the donors you already have to build this donor group.
Wisely is great at finding mid-level donors with your current data. It uses AI to find the right donors at the right time.
If the list that comes back is bigger than you can handle with current resources you may need to cut down on some of your criteria or reconsider your mid-level gift size.
Psst… Look at Other Donor Types in Your Portfolio
You may want to include criteria outside of gift size for your mid-level giving program.
Loyal Annual Donors
When you have donors who have given to your nonprofit for many years, their lifetime value far exceeds the face value of these smaller gifts. These donors could have the capacity to make a major gift as their lifetime philanthropic gift or to leave a bequest in their will.
These loyal donors will appreciate the opportunity to engage with your organization on a deeper level and they may increase their annual gifts in response.
You may have monthly donors whose annual contributions equal that of your mid-level gift size. If you include these donors in your mid-level program you may be able to get extra one-time gifts or even upgrade their monthly giving.
Past Major Donors
Past major donors are perfect for your mid-level giving program, as it is meant to be a bridge between major and annual donors, and a bridge goes two ways. When a major donor has finished fulfilling their gift and you want to keep them engaged, it can take up a lot of staff time to continue a personal relationship, especially when there may not be another large gift in the immediate future.
Once you have finished out your stewardship obligations introduce your past major gift donors to your mid-level giving program. It’s a great way for them to stay engaged with your organization, and have the opportunity to continue giving on a smaller scale. And your donors won’t lose their personal connection with your organization, so it will be easier to bring them back in as major donors when they’re ready.
How to Steward and Solicit Your Mid-level Donors
In your mid-level giving program, the best strategy is going to be a blend of stewardship and solicitation with personal touches sprinkled throughout.
Create an exclusive experience for mid-level donors
The best way to make mid-level donors feel special is to make them feel like they are part of an exclusive group, which is way easier than it sounds!
- Send them your newsletter earlier than everyone else and call it an exclusive sneak peek
- Put the contact information for the donor’s relationship manager on every communication
- Create a special mid-level donor area of your website
- Follow-up gifts with a phone call
- Follow-up direct mail packages with a phone call to discuss the contents and offer more information
- Include handwritten notes
- Replace some solicitation mail packages with stewardship reports that have softer asks
- Handwrite personal messages on direct mail pieces or send handwritten holiday cards
After reading this post you might be thinking “okay I know how to start a mid-level giving program, but I don’t have the resources to do this at my nonprofit!” – yes, you do! In part three of this series, we’re going to discuss growing a mid-level giving program at scale for any size nonprofit.
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