How To Find Mid-Level Donors And Launch A Mid-Level Giving Program

Chris Paver –

As donor acquisition gets more difficult and expensive, the time is right for charities to start focussing on building deeper connections with potential mid-level donors. These donors are ready and willing to engage with you more and are a critical funding source for growing organisations. But how do you get started?

In this article, we map out a very simple blueprint for launching your mid-level giving program and finding the mid-level donors and prospects already existing in your database. Of course, there is a lot more detail required when actually developing your mid-level donor engagement strategies! But we hope this quick overview might spark a conversation to get you on your way to growing this valuable part of your fundraising.

What do you mean by mid-level giving?

In this article by ‘mid-level’ we mean a donor who gives more than $500 in total over a 12 month period. This could be made up of lots of smaller gifts or one larger gift. Of course, different organisations use different definitions and thresholds. But this is the closest to a consensus that we’ve found!

How to build a mid-level giving program

Step 1. Find your existing mid-level donors

It’s helpful to get an understanding of any mid-value donors already giving to your cause. Even if you haven’t officially launched a mid-level program, you will probably find that some of your donors meet our definition of a mid-level donor anyway. You can look into your donor data yourself or with your data team or you can use a tool like Dataro’s Fundraising Intelligence to get the answers quickly.

Once you’ve identified these donors its time to understand more about them – who are they and how long have they been giving to your cause?

Existing mid-level donors should be added to a new ‘Mid-Level’ group that has its own engagement plan. Depending on your CRM, you can use a tag or a constituent code to quickly identify your existing mid-level donors. This will become important later as the program grows.

Title – How many mid-level gifts do you receive each year? We want this number to increase!

Increase the number of mid-level donors giving each year

Step 2. Plan your ‘one-to-few’ mid-level conversion journey

Of course, you’ll know better than us what engagement tactics you think will work best with your donors, and there are lots of options to choose from. Usually these are based on your normal donor journey, but with a few extra touch points along the way.

Here are some example tactics we’ve seen used by the leading charities we work with:

  • Special mail packs or add-ons / information
  • Thank you phone calls or personalised cards after any additional gift
  • Invitations to a special tier or status level in the fundraising program
  • Custom email journeys with extra opportunities or incentives
  • Special event invitations and opportunities

All these tactics have a few things in common. They all involve simple additional touch points that add value and connection for the donor, without having a fully personalised approach.

What other tactics can you think of to add value for your mid-level donors without increasing your fundraising team’s workload too much? Tactics should be scalable (i.e not involve a relationship manager) and cost-effective for the charity. When will you increase ask amounts?

TIP: your mid-level conversion journey should be 6-12 months. Why? Because we’re predicting giving >$500 over a 12 month period. You need enough time to build your connection with the donor in order to convert them with a mid-level gift request later in the year.

Title – How to build a mid-level list using Dataro’s ranks in Raiser’s Edge NXT

Dataro Mid-Level Donor Rank

Step 3. Find the best mid-level prospects

This is where machine learning technology is your best approach. For example, Dataro uses machine learning to find deep patterns in your data and rank your donors in order from the most likely to be a mid-level donor down to the least likely. These ranks are loaded directly into your CRM and updated every week, so you can quickly build a list of the top 200-300 mid-level prospects and that list will always be current with live data!

TIP: remember to create a new tag or constituent code for your ‘Mid-Level Prospects’. You will use this to keep track of who is in your mid-level journey already! These prospects need to be separate from your ‘Mid-Level’ group because they haven’t yet given at the mid-level threshold. If a new prospect successfully converts into a mid-level donor, you will move them from the ‘Mid-Level Prospects’ group to the ‘Mid-Level’ group and engage them differently.

Step 4. Remove the donors you don’t want to include in the mid-level journey

This step is very important and very easy! Have a think about which sorts of donors should not be included in your mid-level pipeline, and remove them from the list using your typical exclusion methods. For instance, remove any donors who have opted out of communications. Remember, you will also need to exclude any donors who are already in your mid-level conversion journey. Use your new ‘Mid-Level Prospects’ tag from Step 3 to remove these donors.

Once you’ve applied your exclusions, your query is ready to go. It’s time to create your list of new Mid-Level Prospects. Save this query as your template, because you will use it every time you want to find the next best prospects to add to your mid-level journey.

Step 5. Add mid-level prospects to your journey and track the results

You want to add the next best prospects into your mid-level funnel on a regular basis. We recommend monthly or quarterly as an easy cadence. In this way, you’re consistently building new leads into your program and (hopefully) converting them into mid-level givers. Make sure you keep track of engagement levels and know when you’re going to increase ask amounts.

Step 6. Move prospects into your mid-level journey (or back down to standard value)

Of course, the whole point of this plan is to upgrade standard-level donors into mid-level donors. So what happens when a donor either does or doesn’t convert? This is why we’ve set up different groups in your CRM for ‘Mid-Level Prospects’ and ‘Mid-Level’. If after your conversion journey a donor has converted, you will add them to your Mid-Level group and they will continue to receive your higher-level engagement journey. 

If the donor has not converted, you will remove them from the Mid-Level Prospects group, reverting back to the standard donor journey. This means you won’t incur the ongoing expense of extra touch points for this donor into the future, effectively managing the costs of your program.

Ready to use data-driven fundraising tactics to upgrade mid-level donors?

Are you ready to get started with Mid-Level Giving? Our Dataro Predict Mid-Level module is the best way to find new potential mid-level donors in your database. And with Dataro’s Fundraising Intelligence you can track results and watch your program grow.

Book a 15 minute demo with our team to learn how data-driven fundraising technology like Dataro can help you upgrade mid-level donors.

Not ready to chat? You can sign up for a FREE Dataro demo account to see for yourself how our predictive and analytics software works.