Bridge the Giving Gap
As many organizations look toward creating more donor-centered and mission-oriented experiences for more committed supporters, there are three areas of focus that are key to building successful mid-level giving programs.
Appropriate audience selection
Using some variety of RFM to select donors for direct-response efforts is a proven technique for donor segmentation. But for mid-level donors, organizations might need to dig a bit deeper into their donor pool to determine who is best suited for these efforts. Truly understanding the nature of your donor file is important. Organizations should look at their sources of donors and the offers that bring them in. Are they members or donors? Are they motivated initially by disasters or other episodic factors? What demographic or psychographic information is available?
Understanding who is on your file and why they joined you and continue to provide support will help you to move beyond RFM to select those donors best suited for the special efforts of a mid-level program.
Donors who are primed for the mid-level program can include those with higher previous contributions, very high cumulative giving amounts or wealth-indicator scores, or those who are a part of the monthly giving program and also give additional gifts above and beyond their monthly donations. Remember that mid-level donors can look very different in each organization, so it’s important to test a group’s performance within the mid-level program and also to continually measure and evaluate the types of donors included in your mid-level giving program.
Catholic Relief Services, a premier sustained development organization that raises the majority of its support through direct channels, recently did just that. When creating its mid-level giving program, it originally identified five different source groups for inclusion, taking into account the different types of gifts it receives. After one year of mid-level treatment, CRS found that four out of the five original source groups performed significantly better with the additional mid-level treatments. The fifth group didn’t respond any differently to the treatment than it had to the traditional direct-response program and was migrated back into the general donor pool.