There’s Money in the Middle for Fundraisers
“Attention must be paid,” said Linda Loman.
In “Death of a Salesman,” she was talking about her husband, Willy, who, after giving his heart and soul to the company he worked for, was being shuffled off to obscurity without having ever received care or respect, and certainly not the attention, he had earned.
I hate to say it, but the same thing might be said for a lot of organizations’ midlevel donors. These are the caring and generous people who give so much money that development staff pulls them out of the general appeal stream to “protect” them from the hoi polloi of direct mail and shuffle them off to the theoretically more nurtured province of major gifts.
The problem is that major-gifts officers are extremely busy people and have to prioritize their time carefully. So, as they should, they give the most attention to the largest donors.
As a result, there’s a sizable pool of donors who are relegated to a kind of donor netherworld where everyone assumes someone else is taking care of them. Which means it won’t take long for them to feel taken for granted.
These middle donors represent a sizable opportunity for most organizations, if they are treated with the respect they’ve earned and deserve.
And if you were fortunate enough to be at the DMA Nonprofit Federation Washington Nonprofit Conference during last week’s blizzard, you might have caught the session: “Mid-Level Donors: Grow and Enhance your Committed Core,” which described some of the special treatment received by middle donors to World Wildlife Fund and The Wilderness Society.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.