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© 2019 by Blue Sky Philanthropy

Use your small shop superpowers for better mid-level giving

September 20, 2017

Great news! No shop is better positioned to start a mid-level giving program than a small shop.

 

Your smaller donor base means that you can apply the principles of effective mid-level giving much more easily than a bigger shop.

 

But what do we mean when we talk about mid-level (or intermediate) giving? Let’s start with the basics…

 

Who is your mid-level donor at a smaller shop?

 

Mid-level giving programs at bigger shops often focus on those donors giving between $1,000 and $10,000.

 

But I’ll guess that at your smaller shop, $5K and $10K gifts are considered a pretty major event!

 

You’ll need to make a decision about who comprises your mid-level donor base. If you are new to segmenting your data, you may wish to keep it simple as you get started.

 

Many small shops start their mid-level giving with donors giving between $250 and $999, with donors giving $1,000 and over falling into major gift territory. Some mid-level programs even start at $100 – have a look at your data, and decide what’s right (and manageable) for you.

 

Personalize, personalize, personalize

 

This is where your small shop superpowers can really shine!

 

While effective mid-level giving programs will use all channels to communicate with donors, highly personalized mail is at the heart of all effective mid-level giving programs.

 

As a small shop, you can actually personalize these packages yourself – no need to depend on fonts that kinda sorta look like real hand writing if you squint.

 

Here’s a few ways you can up your personalization game when it comes to your mid-level donors:

 

  • Handwrite your donor’s address – and pick an unusual size or colour envelope that will stand out in their mailbox

  • Add a personalized sticky note to their letter

  • Get your ED to hand sign the letters, and add her own personal note

  • Reference the donor’s last gift in your letter – both in the body, and on the reply memo

  • Use a real live postage stamp – extra points for a cute pic (did you know you can even create your own personalized stamps now?)

 

Because your scale is on the smaller size, you have lots of opportunity to super personalize your mail to your mid-level donors – get creative, it’s lots of fun!

 

Here’s a bonus pro-tip for your mid-level mail that you can apply to any donor communication: think about your print accessibility, and keep your font large – ideally, between 12 and 18 points.

 

Pick up the phone

 

Effective use of the phone is an important part of any fundraising program – and especially crucial for your mid-level donors.

 

A phone call is a great way to follow up on your mail, and boost response – I’ve often included a note in the letter’s P.S. to let the donor know they can expect a phone call in the next couple of weeks to check in, and see if they have any questions about the programs they are supporting.

 

Of course, you should also be using the phone to make personal thank you calls – this is a great role for volunteers, especially board members!

 

What could make a mid-level donor feel more special than hearing personally from a leadership volunteer like your Board Chair?

 

Paint a picture of a brighter future

 

If you want your donors to make a bigger gift, you have to paint a picture of how their investment will make the world a better place.

 

$500 is a lot of money for most of us – so you’ll need to move your donors with an exciting vision for the future to inspire them to give at this level.

 

Think of the content you share with your mid-level donors as similar to what you share with your major donors – lots of information on the impact of their gift, and perhaps an ask for them to support a bigger idea, or a more complex need.

 

Does your small shop currently have a mid-level giving program? What approaches have you had the most success with? How do you like to personalize your communications with your mid-level donors?

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