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July 28, 2017

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Mid-Level Donor Fundraising

Your annual fund is a well-oiled machine. And your nonprofit is lucky to have the best major gift officers in the business. But mid-level donors? You know, those committed donors who are too important to be lumped into a general direct-response annual fund, but they don’t qualify to be in a major gift portfolio.

You are not alone. Nonprofit professionals across the country are asking the same questions. And we’re here to help.

TrueSense Marketing’s fundraising experts weigh-in on the 10 most frequently asked questions about mid-level donor fundraising programs:

  1. How do you define mid-level?
    For most nonprofits, mid-level donors are people who have been active donors within the last 24 months with a cumulative annual giving level of $1,000–$9,999.
  2. What happens if I keep my mid-level donors in a traditional direct-response program?
    Most organizations have a decline in donor retention once annual giving reaches $1,000. Data suggests when these valuable donors are left in a traditional direct-response program, their retention drops! A mid-level program with added one-to-some touchpoints can help to increase donor retention of this valuable group — meaning you have more donors likely to move into a major gift portfolio.
  3. Is a mid-level program just an enhanced direct-response program?
    A common mistake many organizations make is treating a mid-level donor program as an enhanced direct-response program. Successful mid-level programs utilize a one-to-some approach, whereas traditional direct-response programs use a one-to-many approach. Each group will need their own marketing calendar.     
  4. What is a one-to-some approach?
    pyramidwhite650x525.jpgOne-to-some is a more personalized approach to donor engagement than the one-to-many approach of traditional direct-response programs. The one-to-some approach cultivates donors who are able and willing to support at this level, encourages two-way conversations, and paves the way for the donor to migrate into a one-to-one relationship with a major gift officer.
  5. Should I solicit my mid-level donors more or less than the rest of my annual fund donors?
    It all depends. Some mid-level donors, just like the rest of your annual fund donors will make a sustainer commitment, and then don’t need as many solicitations. The key difference with mid-level solicitation is that a one-to-some approach allows one or more solicitations to be done in real time by phone, integrated with other personalized campaign elements, like a high-value prospectus campaign, email, and wrap-around social.
  6. How many mid-level donors can one fundraising representative manage?
    The cadence strategy of a mid-level program should mimic the one-to-one approach for major giving, but in a scalable way. For our clients, we assign 600 to 800 mid-level donors to one fundraising representative.
  7. What is the average cost of a mid-level program?
    Strong mid-level programs typically require an investment of $35–$55 per mid-level donor, which is justified based on the added value in retention, total value, and movement up the donor pipeline.
  8. What do I need to start a mid-level program at my organization?
    To start a mid-level program at your organization, you must first do a deep dive into your donor file to determine the tipping points that lead to major gifts and to understand your donors who qualify at the mid-level. Talk to TrueSense about how we can provide you with a pipeline Donor Health Index®.
  9. How will I know if my mid-level program is successful?
    There are three metrics that indicate mid-level program success: number of donors graduating to major gifts, increased donor retention of mid-level donors, and revenue per active donor.
  10. Where can I find more information about mid-level programs?
    To get your free copy of our free white paper on how to single out, engage, and cultivate mid-level donors, click here.


What other questions do you have about mid-level donor programs? Talk to TrueSense.

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