4 tips to find mid-level donors

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Mid-level donors continue to be a hot topic for us fundraisers. There’s always room to improve in our annual giving and major gift programs, but the generous mid-level donor has gone neglected all these years like the awkward middle children they are.

How to find mid-level donors & what to do with them

Join me in putting a stop to that!

But first we need to know: How do you find mid-level donors???

I’ll start by acknowledging how we do not find mid-level donors.

Don’t segment your donors or prospects by postal codes (or zip codes for Americans!), looking for potential in the most affluent areas in your city or country.

And don’t go looking based on who’s giving generously to other organizations.

Basically, throw away your typical prospect research toolkit!

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OK, Maeve, so we don’t use our usual tricks… what do we use???

Great question! Here’s the answer: Look right in front of you.

When I worked to develop the mid-level giving program at Wilfrid Laurier University, the first place I started looking for mid-level donors was in the existing annual donor pool.

So what are you looking for exactly? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer, but here are some good tips:

Who’s stretching?

What’s the average annual gift at your charity? Is it $100? Well then I’d look at donors who are stretching considerably beyond that. Maybe start with everyone who’s giving $500+. They could make a perfect mid-level prospect.

Who’s starting off with a biggie?

I’d also look at what donors are making as their first gift. Did someone come out of the blue and give you $250? That’s pretty generous for a first-time donor. I’d want to take a closer look at someone like that.

Who’s giving and giving and giving?

It’s not just about dollar amounts either; has someone given $100 every year for 10 years in a row? That kind of consecutive, loyal, generous and committed support should be acknowledged!

Who’s demonstrating unusual donor behaviour?

Now this is one of my favourite mid-level prospecting tips that I’ve ever heard: did one of your donors reach out to you and update their mailing address without you prompting them to?

That sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? But for any of us in fundraising, we know that rarely happens!

If you matter so much to a donor that they want to make sure you have their updated address and you didn’t have to reach out to them first? You need to pay attention to this person!

But this isn’t the only example! It’s just one idea of “unusual donor behaviour” that should cause us to pause and think.

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And that’s what finding mid-level donors is all about – paying attention! Paying attention to what’s already happening and capitalizing on it.

Now group those individuals together and you’ve got yourself a mid-level prospect pool!

How do YOU find your mid-level donors??? Share in the comments!

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Written by Maeve Strathy


Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

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