Whether it is middle school, middle age, or the middle of the year, the middle of anything indicates something critical: potential. The middle suggests something is not finished. It is continuing along the path. Unfortunately, in donor development, the “middle” donors are often forgotten. While mid-level donors may not represent a big segment of a ministry’s database, although sometimes they do, they do present an opportunity for relationship, engagement, and growth.
Who are they?
The definition of a mid-level donor may vary, but it is safe to say that these donors do not make the major donor list but give more than a general donor. They are also often very consistent in their giving. When considering a mid-level assessment, be sure to look at their giving history. Those who give a bit less, but do it consistently, are engaging with you.
Mid-level donors are passionate about your cause and committed to your work. They will advocate with their friends and colleagues. Middle donors often have major donor potential. Sometimes they are giving what they have envisioned to give and not what they are capable of giving. They also have an opportunity to give through their estate or other planned giving vehicles, but they must be taught and they must be asked.
How do you engage them?
Communication is key. Donors that fall into a mid-level category often support 2-6 other non-profits, which means they are getting a lot of emails. Be sure you are not just talking at your mid-level donors, but actually engaging with them.
- Call them on the phone. You may have to leave messages, until they identify your number. But do it. Make a personal connection. Listen to their story and learn why they support your work.
- Invite them to connect on Zoom. This does not have to take long or be an official presentation. Just look at your donor face-to-face. One thing we have all learned through the pandemic is the opportunity to leverage technology.
- Set up a virtual “coffee talk” and invite mid-level donors to join you for a call to share what’s happening at the ministry. Thank them, give an update, share impact, share additional gift/impact levels, and connect them to a story, and invite their questions. Give it a start and an end time. Thirty minutes is all it takes.
Do something. Segment your list and tailor messages to this group. Do not ask them for monthly gifts, instead thank them for their partnership and report what their contribution accomplished. Send middle donors personal emails, thank you notes, scripture cards, or other tokens to let them know you appreciate them. These middle donors have the potential to remain loyal, make planned giving decisions, and future major gifts. More than that? They are excited about your work. Make sure you meet them in the middle and join them in their journey of generosity.
For more information on mid-level donor strategies, check out our September 2019 webinar with Mike Meyers.