Part Two of a Three-Part Series: 3 Reasons a Mid-Level Program is Critical

If you ask any CEO or Executive Director if their organization is donor-centered, they will always say “yes.” But in reality, many are not. It’s not that they’re intentionally lying about it, it’s that they most likely don’t know what that means. They’ll say, “of course we’re donor-centered, we get out our thank you receipts in a timely manner.”

Being donor-centered means you view the donor as part of your mission just as much as you do with the work your organization does to change the world. At Veritus, that is our radical view of it. Why do we hold this view? Because if organizations actually embraced it, it would focus their fundraising department on the donor rather than what’s easiest for the organization.

The beauty of a strong mid-level program is that ultimately it honors the donor. Here’s what I mean: a mid-level program makes it much easier for a donor to move through the major gift pipeline (they give at higher levels over time). The organization recognizes that, as donors move up in their level of giving and engagement, the non-profit needs to invest in a more personalized approach, encouraging the donor to invest more into the organization and its work.

Remember in my last post how I wrote about this clog that develops for mid-level donors? This clog happens because your organization treats the mid-level donor in the same manner as a $10 or $25 donor. The donor hits a wall, because your direct marketing program is not keeping up with the increased level of investment and engagement of the donor.
Increasing gift ask arrays (merge fields) on a direct mail piece is no longer challenging your mid-level donors to do more. So either they stop giving or they remain loyal, but never increase their level of giving. They sit there in this big “clog” in your major gift pipeline.

But a dynamic mid-level program that introduces these donors to a more one-to-one approach changes the relationship with the donor. The donor, who loves your mission, for the first time is hearing from a person in that organization who asks them how they can help them to engage in a deeper way.

The mid-level donor responds by continuing their giving, increasing their giving (or in some cases dramatically increasing it) – and this tells you that they want a much more personal engagement with a major gift officer.

That is what a robust mid-level program does. It honors the donor by acknowledging their deeper level of investment in your organization, and it challenges them to do more, which is what the donor is longing to do.

Do I need to repeat that for you? Your donors long to do more and a mid-level program, by design, gives them the opportunity that your direct-response program does not.

Honoring the donor ultimately means eliminating any barrier that would cause them to stop giving, and encouraging an increase in their giving and level of engagement with your organization.

This means that if you don’t have a mid-level program for your donors, you’re creating an unnecessary wall for the donor to climb over in order to become a major donor and investor in your mission.

Honor your donors by creating a mid-level program. Get rid of any barrier that lessens the flow of your major gift pipeline.


This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on March 22, 2019.

Read the whole series: 3 Reasons a Mid-Level Program is Critical