Are you a middle child? Do you have a middle child? Middle children commonly share they don’t get enough attention, or they don’t “fit” in the family. I have three kids of my own. My husband and I often say our oldest demands attention, our youngest requires attention, but our middle child needs attention.
I think the same can be true with donors. Major donors warrant a considerable amount of attention and relational investment. General donors require regular mass communication. But middle donors? They need (and deserve) attention from ministries as well. And they may be the most under-served donor segment.
How do you engage in mid-level donor relationships?
Communicate & Cultivate Personally with Midlevel Donors
Most likely, you don’t have time to meet with mid-range donors on a regular basis. But just because you can’t meet with them personally, doesn’t mean you don’t communicate with them personally.
Midlevel Donors are people too. In 2017, a nonprofit research firm, NextAfter, made $1000–$5000 donations to 37 different organizations and monitored each organizations’ communication for 90 days. Here is what they found:
- Only 8% called to say thank you.
- 31% of the communications they received came from a ‘real person.’
- 49% sent nothing or stopped all communications after a month.
Clearly, we have an opportunity to do better. Here are a few suggestions on how you can maximize the middle givers in your ministry work.
1. Make it personal
If you have access to a donor’s phone number, I highly recommend picking up the phone and giving them a call on a manageable frequency. Even can be voicemail personal. When it comes to email, donors are more likely to open an email when it comes from an individual rather than an organization. Try sending email communications from a contact person’s email (email@example.com) as opposed to a generic email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and try using a personal greeting which includes the donor’s name.
2. Stay in touch
Don’t stop communicating with donors after they have made a gift. There is a myth that you can overcommunicate or communicate too soon. You can’t. But don’t just ask them for donations. Tell them about the impact they are accomplishing through investing in your work. There are multiple ways you can stay in contact with your donors. Newsletters, emails, social media, direct mail, and phone calls are all ways to keep the line of communication open. Inform your donors and engage them throughout the year.
3. Thank you, thank you, thank you
According to Burk Donor Survey, a donor’s second gift could be 40 percent more if they receive a thank-you phone call. Tim Kachuriak, founder of NextAfter, suggests organizations should thank donors a minimum of three times for every gift. He recommends following up with a phone call, an email, and a letter to make sure midlevel donors know the impact they have for your ministry.
Mid-range givers can be instrumental in your organization’s growth and sustainability. Happy donors will be loyal investors in your work. Give them the attention they need. Always look for ways to maximize the middle.