Five Key Strategies to Developing a Mid-Level Donor Program
Following are some strategies to create communications that help cultivate relationships with prospective mid-level donors.
1) As with all direct marketing, mid-level solicitations should be donor-centered, not organization-centered. Copy should be thoughtful and gracious, demonstrating appreciation for the donor’s level of commitment. Every communication, whether it is a solicitation, an acknowledgement, a cultivation effort or anything else, should thank the donor for her support and reflect that she has a direct, active relationship with your organization.
2) A mid-level communication should provide “insider” information and insight into the organization. Correspondences also also provide results and information on how well the nonprofit is meeting its mission and goals.
3) Donor involvement and interaction should be incorporated into communications. The nonprofit should listen to and heed donor preferences through surveys, questionnaires and other feedback devices.
4) This increased use of personal, warm and conversational copy should be incorporated into packages that are unique and compelling. The use of direct-mail methods such as closed-face envelopes, First Class stamps, distinctive fonts and script styles, and other major-giving techniques should be integrated into the program.
5) Receiving a gift from a mid-level donor does not end the communication. Prompt and personal acknowledgements, recognition and follow-through are essential.
What can you hope to expect from a strong mid-level program? You can expect to see an increase in revenue and an improvement in overall retention from these donors and, as a result, from the overall file. You can expect to see the retention of the mid-level file to be better than the retention of your lower-level file, but not as strong as your major donors. And you can expect to have a strong and stable core group of loyal donors for years to come.
George Whelan is vice president of marketing and strategic development for White Plains, N.Y.-based full-service direct response marketing and advertising agency Carl Bloom Associates. He can be reached via www.carlbloom.com.