Let’s inspire mid-level donors!

let's inspire mid-level donors

Last week I wrote about mid-level donors and what we’re doing wrong with them.

Mid-level donors are neglected, uninspired, and disengaged.

Why? Because we’re making assumptions about them.

We’re assuming they want to be treated like a major donor — in-person meetings, more targeted asks, and more information to inspire their giving, because they see their gift as an investment.

Or we’re assuming they want to be treated like an annual donor — they’ve been conditioned to give by mail, after all, so let’s just throw in a variable paragraph to distinguish them among our other donors, and maybe put their letter in a square envelope with a real, live stamp on it.


The mid-level donor is neither the major or the annual donor. They’re telling us they’re different, by the ways they behave and the ways they give. They’re saying, “I have capacity to give more, and I want to be more engaged in your organization.”

So how can we capitalize on that?

The mid-level donor is a hybrid, so we need a hybrid program.

Don’t pull the mid-level donor out of the mail. Instead, start to find ways to enhance the content we send them. If they see their gift as an investment, think of how they’d want to be asked. Would we give a corporate sponsor a traditional direct mail appeal? Or would we give them something that feels more customized, that feels more detailed and informative, that has more “behind the scenes” information and feels more exclusive? We’d give them the latter, so let’s do the same for mid-level donors. It doesn’t have to be a customized proposal; it just needs to feel like one.

But let’s also give the mid-level donor new ways to connect with us. Let’s try to arrange in-person meetings with our top mid-level donors. They might not want to meet us in person, or at least they might not want to meet with us every year, but they might jump at the opportunity for some one-on-one attention, so let’s give them that opportunity. What could we find out if we sat across the table from a mid-level donor? How could we inspire their giving in a new and enhanced way?

These are some important learnings on mid-level, but here’s the thing: you need to find out what works for YOU.

So here’s an action item: call a mid-level donor today!

Try calling 15 donors over the next two weeks. Ask them: what inspires you? What engages you? What are we doing to involve you in our organization that you love? What aren’t we doing?

And while you’re at it: THANK THEM. Make them feel how important they are to the organization.

They are.

And if they feel they’re important to you, you’ll continue to be important to them.

Thanks for reading!


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Written by Maeve Strathy

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

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