Bridge the Giving Gap
Though no direct ask should be included, there are some times when a return envelope makes sense. For instance, if an item, such as an ornament or card for a service recipient, is included for the donor to sign and return, a convenience envelope should be included. No reference is made to a gift request, but many donors will return a gift of support and may, in combination with the gifts of other donors, pay for your costs to do the cultivation mailing.
Establishing measures of success
Because mid-level giving programs are hybrids of direct-response and major-gifts efforts, the way in which you measure them also is a hybrid of these two areas. There are both hard and soft metrics that can be used to evaluate the performance of a mid-level giving program.
Hard metrics measure the movement of donors through the donor pipeline. Of course, mid-level donors should be evaluated on their performance in individual direct-response campaigns to measure traditional variables such as response rate, average gifts, net/thousand and ROI. However, we also need to carefully monitor other, less immediate measures such as their LTV, cumulative giving within a year, the number of donors who upgraded and the retention rate of donors within the mid-level program. Organizations also can measure the number of donors who migrated out of the program and into major gifts as prospects — after all, that’s the goal of these mid-level efforts!
Soft metrics — those more qualitative measurements of the success of the program — also should be looked at when evaluating the mid-level program. Because this program serves as a bridge between direct response and major gifts, fundraisers should look at the interdepartmental collaboration fostered by the mid-level program. How are both groups working together to increase the effectiveness of the mid-level program? Are resources being shared? Have any preexisting issues of “donor ownership” been improved upon or alleviated? What do staff relationships look like? How smoothly is donor migration managed?