It goes without saying -- but we will say it anyway just in case -- that nonprofits need to maximize contributions from their major donors.However, achieving this core objective should not mean that mid-level donors get overlooked -- because they, too, are an important part of the overall donor database.
As Stanford University’s Stanford Social Innovation Review notes: “Although some organizations develop major donors as a significant secondary source of funds, small donations seem to fuel the broadest expansions”.
In light of this awareness – and regardless of whether your nonprofit is seeking to “fuel a broad expansion” or has other essential financial goals in mind – below we highlight 5 ways you can get the MOST of your mid-level donors (i.e. generally those who donate $100-$1000), and ultimately drive as many as possible up the giving pyramid.
1. Use Inbound Marketing
As we have written about previously, inbound marketing is an affordable and results-driven way to attract, nurture, convert and inspire all types of donors, including of course, mid-level donors.
At the same time – and we would argue just as importantly – inbound marketing enables nonprofits to generate more and better data on their mid-level donors, and use it to both optimize current campaigns and build more specific topics in the future. For example, nonprofits can glean what kind of content generates the most interaction and engagement, which platforms are the most effective (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, blog, etc.), to what extent their mid-level donors are sharing content, and so on.
2. Tell a Great Story
Non-donors and low-level donors need a reason to change their status, and way to inspire them into mid-level donor status is through great storytelling.
No, this does not mean that all communications should start with “once upon a time”, “it was a dark and stormy night”, or “a long time ago in a galaxy far away”. Rather, it means that campaigns and content should be designed to tell a compelling, emotionally rich story that clearly makes donors who make a larger contribution (i.e. mid-level donors) the most celebrated heroes and heroines -- since that is what they are! For a great example of storytelling, take a look at what "Humans of New York" has been doing via social media.
3. Use Online Payment Processing
We have also written about the importance of using a reliable, secure and easy-to-use online payment processing system to turn donor intentions into dollars. There are many systems available, and they all have pros and cons. Read our article for a summary of some of the most popular.
4. Increase Your Education
There are many online options to learn about engaging and onboarding mid-level donors. For example, The Chronicle of Philanthropy offers an aptly-titled webinar “Donor Relations: Making the Most of Mid-Level Donors”. Keep in mind though that this particular webinar costs $96.
5. Use Personalized Ask Amounts
Unlike conventional ask amount approaches (“fill in the blank” or level-based), personalized ask amounts analyze each donor’s willingness and capacity to donate. This gives fundraising teams valuable insight on how much they can reasonable expect from each donor during their next direct solicitation campaign, as well as over the long term.
In our experience, personalized ask amounts capture more untapped revenues from both non-donors and low-level donors, and elevate them both to mid-level donor status.
ExactAsk’s sophisticated algorithms determine the precise ask amount for your fundraising campaigns based on how wealthy your donors are, how interested they are in your cause, and how willing they are to support it. It is ideal for generating mid-level donors, and cultivating them up the giving pyramid.
To learn more about personalized ask amounts, download our latest case study here.