Releasing the potential of your Middle Donors

Recently I’ve been watching some clients struggling with the potential of their ‘middle’ value supporters. While I hate to see them struggle, I’m glad they’re making the effort. Despite it being a hot topic for a while now, there still seems to be a dearth of inspiring and engaging middle donor programmes around, unless of course organisations are keeping them very close to their chests.

Clearly there are challenges with this type of programme, not least the issue of who manages it internally. Give it to your Direct Marketing/Individual Giving team and appeals are at risk of becoming a tailored segment of your mass appeals. Give it to your Major Donor team and the risk is that they’ll spend too much time soliciting gifts that just don’t justify the resource.

The creative process also gets you scratching your head. How can you make a middle donor programme to a few hundred/thousand people appear tailored and personal in a way that makes donors feel they have been addressed personally without blowing your budget sky high? One way is the mini proposal pack which feels like it has been around forever but still some organisations are making it work. That is IF they follow some of the fundamental ingredients including low production values and the personal touch (i.e. tailored notes, paper clips, photocopied emails etc.). In other words, they make the pack look like it’s been put together lovingly and that the recipient has been specially singled out for the chance to invest and make a difference to the cause. Some organisations have made very creative, personal approaches work too (hand crafted cards, DVD packs…) but these seem few and far between.

If this makes you want to lie down in a dark room, or worse still just tweak your DM programme to include higher tick box asks to these Middle Donors, remember this – not only does this group of supporters hold the potential for a valuable income stream for you right now, but they are also your ‘feeder track’ to potentially high value/major gifts or even legacies in the future. It’s a challenge, but get the thinking right now and you’ll be reaping the rewards in the longer term.

Categories: Individual Giving

Resource Type: Blog

Posted by Beccy Murrell

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