The No. 1 strategy for sustaining good-standing relationships with donors is by engaging with them on a personal level—not just the major donors, but all donors. And yes, this includes your mid-level donors, too. NextAfter released a ebook titled “The Mid-Level Donor Crisis: What We Learned By Donating $1,000 or More to 37 Different Organizations,” a research study that looked at how nonprofits communicate with mid-level donors.
The study defined a mid-level donor as a donor who gives between $1,000 and $5,000 and a major donor as donor who gives between $5,000 and $10,000. Researchers evaluated 224 correspondences—email (78 percent), direct mail (21 percent) and phone calls (one percent)—for mid-level gifts to 37 different organizations for 90 days.
“Think about it—mid-level donors are giving at a significantly higher level than the average donor,” researchers said. “And a $1,000 gift is 967 percent above the nonprofit benchmark average gift size of $93.67.”
Results showed that of 70 percent of organizations who had donors’ phone numbers, eight percent made “thank you” calls to their donors. Furthermore, 22 percent of organizations did not send a “thank you” email and 40 percent did not mail a “thank you” letter. Researchers noted, “If someone gives a gift of significant value to your organization, and you have their email address and postal address, you should be sending them an email and direct mail.”
Penelope Burk, author of “Donor Centered Fundraising,” worked with an organization that called their donors to thank them for their gift, and of those donors, 40 percent gave for a second time, which made them 40 percent more valuable to the organization.
“And with this influx of new learnings about your donors, you’ll be equipped with insights to test in your fundraising in order to perpetually optimize your emails, advertising, donation pages, phone calls, direct mail and more. At the end of the day, optimizing your fundraising means that you can multiply your impact as a fundraiser, and ultimately, the impact of your organization. And who doesn’t want to do that?” — NextAfter
It’s time for us to take the extra step and personally thank each one of our donors—whether he or she is a first-time donor, a one-time donor, a mid-level donor or a major donor. Donors deserve to be recognized for their contribution to your organization and its mission because it improves the relationship with your donor and increases the donor’s value.
To read the full e-book, including effective “thank you” strategies and five case studies, click here.