Engaging Mid-Level Supporters | 6 Successful Tips to Follow

Alex Jeter
April 30, 2014

Check out these tips for effectively engaging mid-level donors.

When it comes to fundraising for your cause, a lot of emphasis is put on making connections with coveted major donors or corporate philanthropy partners for larger gifts. However, there’s a hidden donor demographic among your community just waiting to be tapped into: mid-level donors.

Mid-level donors might represent a small percentage of your total donors, but they typically provide around 40-50% of your overall fundraising revenue. That’s a huge impact for a single donor segment!

If your nonprofit is looking to revitalize your fundraising efforts, why not try engaging your mid-level supporters? By accessing this powerful donor segment, your team can start getting more out of your relationships with these impactful givers.

To more effectively engage mid-level donors, your nonprofit should:

  1. Know who your mid-level supporters are.
  2. Account for how many mid-level supporters you have (and need).
  3. Share responsibility for mid-level engagement.
  4. Build a list of possible mid-level supporter interests.
  5. Audit your donor database to see if you’re engaging these groups.
  6. Determine ways you might discover the interests of your supporters.

Your mid-level donors play a crucial role in supporting your cause, so it’s time your nonprofit took them seriously. Let’s dive into these mid-level donor engagement strategies!

Know who your mid-level supporters are.

1. Know who your mid-level supporters are.

Let’s start from the beginning: to really understand how to best engage your mid-level donors, you’ll need to know who your mid-level donors are.

On average, mid-level donors account for between 5-10% of a nonprofit’s donor population. This means that from organization to organization, you’ll likely find a small (but active) cohort of mid-range givers providing around half of your fundraising revenue.

However, simply knowing how many mid-level donors your cause has and how much they contribute won’t help your team more effectively engage these individuals.

In fact, to improve how your nonprofit engages mid-range donors, you’ll need to better understand who these individuals are among the rest of your community.

The best way to do so? Invest in robust donor database software to keep track of all of your constituents. Use integrated fundraising and advocacy software to collect as much data as possible about your supporters at every engagement touch point.

When donors give at the mid-range level, you’ll be able to sort these individuals into appropriate mid-level giving segments to better analyze just who is giving these gifts among your community.

Account for how many mid-level supporters you have (and need).

2. Account for how many mid-level supporters you have (and need).

Now that you’ve created mid-level donor segments, it’s time to start thinking of ways your team can boost the number of donors who fall into this giving range.

Use your newly created mid-level donor segments to determine how many of these donors your nonprofit has and how much they really contribute to your cause. This will help guide your team when determining the next steps to take.

Once you’ve determined the real-world impact of your existing mid-level donors, it’s time to ask your team: what more do we need from these important supporters?

Instead of blindly trying to increase the number of mid-level donors at your nonprofit, determine how many mid-level prospects you’ll need to reach key fundraising benchmarks. Your nonprofit might decide to:

  • Convert lower-level givers into mid-range donors.
  • Turn one-time major donors into returning mid-level givers.
  • Upgrade new donors into mid-range contributors.

Depending on your nonprofit’s fundraising goals, the capabilities of your donor base, and general interest in your nonprofit’s cause, your team will likely try to adopt one or more of the above strategies.

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Share responsibility for mid-level engagement.

3. Share responsibility for mid-level engagement.

Identifying who your mid-range donors are, how many you’ll need, and how you’ll increase their numbers is just the first part of the process.

To truly start engaging your mid-level givers more effectively, you’ll need to come up with a plan of action for mid-level engagement. By doing so, each arm of your organization will better understand the role it has to play in your overall efforts.

As we all know, engaging your donors can be really complicated and requires a lot of coordination across your team. While the ultimate goal is to get more mid-range donors to contribute, engagement itself isn’t all about giving.

To delegate mid-level donor engagement responsibilities across your team, you should:

  • Share your mid-level donor goals with your team. The better informed your staff and volunteers are, the more prepared they’ll be to participate in boosting mid-level donor engagement.
  • Plan mid-level donor engagement events, like networking parties, volunteer projects, and social events. The more your mid-level donors stay active with your cause, the more likely it is they’ll donate.
  • Think of ways to engage mid-level supporters online. Not all of your mid-level donors are able to get involved with your organization in person, so offer them ample ways to stay active with your cause online.

By planning stewardship projects like these that involve multiple arms of your organization, everyone on your team will have a stake in your mid-range donor engagement plan. This means more team members will be dedicated to your goal, likely resulting in better performance over time.

Build a list of possible mid-level supporter interests.

4. Build a list of possible mid-level supporter interests.

A great way to enhance the shared engagement efforts your team has planned? Leverage the data you have about your donors to plan a more effective strategy.

Since you’ve built your mid-level donor segments using your nonprofit’s donor database, return to this useful resource. What do you already know about your mid-level supporter interests, and what can you learn?

Use your CRM to determine factors like:

  • The kinds of events your mid-level donors prefer to attend.
  • The style of solicitations your mid-range givers respond to most frequently.
  • The giving channels that are most popular among your mid-range donors.
  • The advocacy campaigns your mid-range donors support the most.
  • And more!

Since your donor database is integrated with your fundraising and advocacy solutions, you’ll have a well-rounded picture of what engagement strategies work the best for your mid-range donors, and which efforts are more work than they’re worth.

You can use this data to help plan your strategy and create a calendar of data-driven mid-level engagement campaigns.

Audit your donor database to see if you’re engaging these groups.

5. Audit your donor database to see if you’re engaging these groups.

After you’ve created a plan for engaging mid-level givers, you’ll need to set accountability measures in order to ensure that your team stays on track with this plan.

Knowing what counts as success and what benchmarks your nonprofit should reach in its efforts to engage mid-level donors will make all the difference. After all, it’s difficult to be successful if you don’t know what success actually means for your organization.

There are a few ways your team can periodically audit mid-level donor engagement in your donor database:

  • Track engagement metrics. These include everything from click through rate on emails, to how often supporters interact with your social media posts, to event attendance, and more. Determine what engagement metrics are meaningful to your mid-level engagement strategy and use your donor database to track their progress.
  • Track mid-level giving rates. No matter what your nonprofit’s specific goals are, the ultimate goal is to get your mid-level donors to give more, either by increasing the number of mid-level donors to your cause, the overall amount they donate, the frequency in which they give, or some combination of these factors.

With a robust donor management system, your team can use reporting and analytics tools to track these metrics and be notified of your progress. If your donor database offers a customizable dashboard, you can even track these metrics visually on the system’s central interface. This way, your mid-level donor strategy is always front of mind.

Determine ways you might discover the interests of your supporters.

6. Determine ways you might discover the interests of your supporters.

Effective engagement is all about offering supporters opportunities to get involved with your cause that are relevant to their needs and interests.

When your team is able to demonstrate to supporters that you understand them well, they’ll be more likely to continually engage with your cause (and ultimately, to give). This is true for all donors, but can be especially important to note for mid-level donors.

The fact of the matter is that mid-level donors can often represent a diverse segment of your supporters. Since their gifts aren’t particularly large, they’ll usually reflect a wide range in wealth, from individuals with a modest giving capacity to those with significant giving capacity.

This means that to secure their continual engagement and to lay the groundwork for future giving, you’ll need to focus in on your mid-level donors’ unique interests and preferences.

Here are a few informative ways to learn more about what drives your mid-level supporters:

  • Send current mid-level donors surveys. After you send your donation acknowledgement, ask them what engagement opportunities they’re most likely to respond to. See how that data aligns with what you’ve tracked in your database.
  • Analyze the behavior of your “near” mid-level donors. For individuals your team wants to convert into mid-level donors, track their behavior in your donor database and compare it to the behavior of your actual mid-level donors. What similarities are there?

The bottom line? There’s a lot your nonprofit can learn about your mid-level donors, and as you hone that segment’s engagement strategy it’s important to focus in on what factors are actually responsible for their support of your cause.

Think your nonprofit is ready to more effectively engage mid-level supporters? With these helpful strategies, your team is ready to get started!

If you want to unlock more strategic fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

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