Your Most Important 2024 Donors Are Already in Your File: Engage and Upgrade Mid-Level Donors

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Your Most Important 2024 Donors Are Already in Your File: Engage and Upgrade Mid-Level Donors

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By Kristin Priest


During times of economic uncertainty, it makes sense for nonprofit leaders to feel a bit nervous about raising support. Now is the time to steward your existing community by working to retain donors and upgrade them to a deeper commitment to your organization.

The Mid-Level Upgrade Campaign

Many of the people who already endorse you have confidence in your abilities, believe in your mission and fervently support your work. In a time when trust in nonprofits — and institutions in general — is decreasing, this is incredibly valuable. An upgrade campaign allows these donors to elevate their commitment.

While any segment of your donors can be an appropriate target for an upgrade campaign, one of the most valuable segments to upgrade is your mid-level donors.

Who Is a Mid-Level Donor?

Mid-level donors are often the loyal and committed backbone of your annual giving program. They are also one of the best sources of major donor prospects. Two-thirds of your major donors start in annual giving.

Related story: Can You Upgrade Your Monthly Donors to Higher Levels?

Mid-level donors are a unique group, not simply “big annual donors” or “small major givers.” What motivates their generosity, how they want to be invited to give, their psychographic profiles, their desired level of personalization and other variables are often quite different from your general or major donors. And when engaged and stewarded appropriately, they retain at some of the highest rates.

There are few universal truths about mid-level donors. As you consider your donor data, you’ll find out what’s true about your mid-level donors and what motivates them.

Upgrade Campaigns: Catalysts for Donor Growth

As you analyze your mid-level donor data, look for key indicators for upgrade opportunities.

First, you’ll need to determine if they have the capacity to increase their contributions. While economic retractions can cause donors to reduce the number of organizations they give to, it does not necessarily impact their gift size. Donors may choose to give more to fewer organizations to ensure they can maintain or even increase their support, making retaining and engaging these donors even more important during challenging economic times.

There are two data points of particular interest as you identify prospective mid-level donors.

1. Predicted Discretionary Spending

Predicted discretionary spending is different from net worth, and provides more context for a donor’s financial capacity. Predicted discretionary spending is about how much cash they have on hand. Any figure in the $10,000-to-$25,000-or-greater range suggests they may be a mid-level donor.

2. Past Philanthropy

Past philanthropy is another key indicator. Are they already giving consistently to your organization? Where else are they giving? Political giving of any kind is also a big clue — anyone giving $2,500 or more to any political cause is 14 times more likely to stretch their giving.

Once you’ve identified mid-level donors suited to upgrade, you can begin crafting your campaign.

Stewardship and Engagement

Personal and personalized outreach is important. In fact, 59% of donors surveyed by Accenture in 2017 said personalization would raise their donations by 10%, while 8% said it would increase their donation by up to 50% more. It’s particularly helpful when cultivating mid-level donors. Since the trend toward personalization has only grown since 2017, it’s even more important to find meaningful ways to personalize your outreach to mid-level donors.

Thoughtful data segmentation is required for effective personalization. It allows you to target segments of your audience with laser precision. By targeting your communications to the people most likely to be interested in them, you can appeal to specific donors. In addition to providing a better donor experience and better return on investment for your efforts, it also can provide significant cost savings.

Embrace Technology and Take a Collaborative Approach

Thanks to advances in technology for nonprofits, you no longer have to guess about your donors. AI and predictive analytics can help you quickly identify who your mid-level donors are and provide insights about what kind of upgrade experience makes sense for them and their best points of connection. Once you have sufficient data, you can map a donor journey, much of it automated, to ensure that you’re consistently and meaningfully engaging these donors.

Mid-level giving, especially upgrade campaigns, touches multiple areas of your fundraising operations. Establish a workflow with the direct marketing and major gifts teams, and work together to map the complete donor journey, identifying all the touch points across the organization. The exercise will cut across silos, channels and donor levels, helping teams better understand the global effort involved in meeting the organization’s mission. You’ll uncover opportunities to surprise and delight donors, as well as find ways to engage them in more meaningful ways.

If you want to grow in 2024, use your data to discover who’s already invested in your nonprofit, and ready to make a deeper commitment. Upgrading your mid-level donors through engagement and stewardship is a sustainable approach that invests in the community you’ve already built, and grows its depth and loyalty, along with your fundraising.

The preceding post was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.

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