01.10.23 3 min

Finding and attracting mid-level donors

How to uncover new mid-level donor prospects and develop high-performing campaigns to reach and engage them.

Natasia Langfelder

Content Marketing Manager

The world of charitable giving continues to change and evolve. Many nonprofits are seeing a decrease in the number of donors, but an increase in the gift amount per donor. If your organization is looking for ways to capitalize on this increase in giving amount, finding and attracting mid-level donors is a great place to start.

Mid-level giving is defined differently by every organization; there is no hard and fast definition. For many, it may start at $500 and cap at $5,000 or $10,000, while for others, the threshold may be lower or higher. What’s most important to note is that mid-level donors behave differently. Their behavior is typically characterized by a single larger gift rather than several smaller gifts. Because they behave differently, you need to take a different approach to engage them. Your tone and stewardship need to be personalized to these donors in order to qualify them into major gifts.

Where can you find mid-level donors? The good news is that you probably have more donors who are likely to become mid-level donors in your file than you realize. And these mid-level donors are incredibly valuable because they are more likely than other types of donors to evolve into major gift donors down the line. Once you have a better understanding of who your current mid-level donors are, you’re more likely to successfully reach out and guide them towards major giving.

In this article, we will explore how to identify mid-level donors and strategies to reach and engage them.

Study your current donors to find the best audience

How do you attract new mid-level donors? One way is to uncover who from your current donor pool would be more likely to give more.

You can take the data on your current mid-level donors and find their patterns, attributes and donor habits to build a target persona. From there, you can use these findings to identify other donors in your pool who “look” and “act” like your mid-level donors.

To do this, it’s important to invest in data on your own donors to help you see what your current donor landscape looks like. AI and machine learning based models, such as those in Data Axle’s Constellation series, can analyze your current file and uncover the patterns that make up your mid-level donors, and then take those learnings to find donors who are similar to them. Uncovering hidden mid-level donors in your current donor file means a lot of your leg work is done—you know they care about your cause.

The next step is to append this insightful data to your donor database to provide valuable understandings on the philanthropic behaviors of your existing donors – including their gifting history and what types of causes they support. Nonprofits can also leverage consumer data to enrich their donor data with over 300 different attributes. These attributes can include elements such as net worth, marriage, household income, age and presence of children, to highlight just a few.

Enhancing your database with co-op donor data and consumer data gives you a 360-degree view of your potential mid-level donors by appending additional attributes to their record. This helps you both meet your donors on the channels they prefer and craft a more compelling story to engage them with your mission. For example, if your organization supports and funds childhood cancer research and recovery efforts, maybe you’d like to know that a sizable portion of your mid-level donors also have children under 18 in the household and give to other organizations that focus on health research.

It is important to understand the capacity and propensity to give at greater levels for each prospective donor. By enhancing your database with additional datapoints and studying the donors’ prior engagement with the organization along with wealth indicators and philanthropic behaviors with other organizations, you will have a tool to mine your database and define the audience to focus on for additional engagement.

Let’s take this a step further and investigate how you can deepen that relationship.

Reach and connect with prospective mid-level donors

Let’s recap – you’ve utilized data to understand who your donors are, you’ve identified mid-level donors in your current files, and you’ve found new prospects by using that information.

Now, you want to target these mid-level donors with a compelling marketing campaign utilizing learnings from the data analysis.

Testing should always be a key component of a campaign. Anytime you shift the way you’re doing things; you want to keep an eye on whether the shift is working or not. Some mid-level donors may engage with your mass communications or content. And some mid-level donors may want to interact with a more targeted and specific campaign that highlights one particular message. To figure out who fits into which category, separate your prospects into two groups and send them each one set of creative and then track the performance. If neither performs well, try different messaging or creative.

You can also test time of day preferences by sending the same message via email on different days and at different times. Keep an eye on metrics such as open rates, click-throughs, etc. to determine which time worked best. Or test your message by sending at the same time every week or month in email but with different graphics and copy to see what message gets clicked on the most. You can also set up standard A/B testing in your display or paid social channels to determine the content that drives the highest engagement.

Get personal, get specific

If you want mid-level donors to connect with your organization more, you’ll need to get personal. Do you understand why they care so much about your cause? Do you know why your organization is a priority for them?

Of course, you can and should be finding ways to meet face-to-face with your donors on varying levels. But you can reach out to them and find out their interests in other ways, too. Including a survey via email, for instance, gives your donor or prospect a chance to self-identify.

Let’s take another look at that childhood cancer organization. With a survey, they can learn more about their donors to create that personal touch. Do those donors care more about supporting the research on curing cancer, or are they more concerned with patient care and recovery, and getting families back on their feet? The answer is different from person to person. Once you have this crucial data, this can enable personalization at scale – but only if you have the right tools (and partner) to help you act on it.

Ace your mid-level donor strategy

The most important take-away is that a tailored approach is crucial when you are trying to level-up your mid-level donors. You can’t just put your asks on fancier paper stock – this audience is not going to bite for bells and whistles. You need to ease them into mission-based messaging.

Want more guidance? Data Axle Nonprofit can help your organization uncover new mid-level prospects and develop campaigns to drive engagement to help further your mission.

Contact us today to learn more.

Natasia Langfelder

Thanks for reading

Written by Natasia Langfelder, Content Marketing Manager

With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data and tech, Natasia creates content designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help nonprofits elevate their data governance.