Some Keys to Success With Mid-level Giving
* There is a strong case for support: With food and gas prices rising and other meals programs turning clients away, SVMOW needs its donor’s support and generosity now more than ever.
* The program is multifaceted, soliciting donors through the mail (three contacts), by phone and, where appropriate, in person. It is promoted in the organization’s newsletter and Web site, and at events.
* Circle of Angels has built-in recognition opportunities and offers exclusivity and access. As donors contribute more, they receive additional recognition and more access. These opportunities are promoted throughout the campaign.
* Circle of Angels members are invited to cultivation events, sent their newsletter in advance (and with a personalized cover note) and receive personal contacts during the year — anything we can do to connect these donors even more to the organization.
* Wherever possible — including the initial solicitation — we promote last year’s members. With a regional organization, even in a town as large as Los Angeles, seeing your friends’ names on a list (and not your own!) often is enough motivation to donate.
* Prospects are targeted appropriately. The invitation doesn’t mail to everyone — it’s highly targeted based on past giving history and, where possible, wealth overlay information and personal knowledge of the donor prospect.
* When we can, we involve Circle of Angels volunteers. COA volunteers are a core group of highly committed donors who write personal notes, make phone calls and lend support to the program.
In the end, the program is successful because it’s comprehensive and mixes both conventional direct-marketing techniques with traditional major-gift solicitation practices. It takes a large file, narrows it down to several hundred high-dollar donors and creates a semi-customized solicitation and stewardship program for them.
Jessica Harrington is vice president at Philadelphia-based consultancy Schultz & Williams. www.sw-inc.com