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Most organizations have a rich source of untapped opportunity in the middle of the pyramid that they overlook — mid-level donors.

Knowing how to upgrade donors in the middle of your donor pyramid is incredibly important. However, mid-level donors often have an elusive, mysterious persona. Who are these people? If they’re not major donors or regular givers, then who are they and how do we identify them?

What Every Nonprofit Should Know About Mid-Level Donors

Here are seven key factors that characterize mid-level donors:

  1. They look like low-level donors. The best way to find mid-level donors is to use data beyond giving history to identify these prospects. Marketplace and observation data, for example, allows us to identify prospects with a higher likelihood of giving.
  2. They may have never donated to your organization before—on any level. A whopping 70 percent of mid-level gifts secured through the face-to-face strategy were from non-donors. Don’t overlook your non-donors. They may be your biggest prospect pool.
  3. They will give on the first ask. Out of the 22,000 prospects we have identified and visited at Pursuant, 41 percent of them have signed a multi-year giving commitment. Securing commitments on the first ask requires the right conversation with the right prospect.
  4. They need to hear a different message than low-level donors and major donors. Your gift officers must be able to convey the case in a compelling, action-oriented manner to get meaningful results. Interaction via print and email won’t win them over; they need face-to-face attention to show them their value.
  5. They will give a significant gift if you have the right system in place. Asking for multi-year commitments fulfilled in monthly payments is an effective way to upgrade low-level donors because it makes contributing a mid-level gift an easier and more comfortable financial decision.
  6. They are typically supporting between three and seven other organizations. Engaging mid-level donors with direct, personalized attention will help propel your organization into their top three organizations—which is where you need to be.
  7. They represent a base of future major donors. Be sincere about developing a relationship from the starting point through mid-level gifts and you will cultivate a future base of major donors.

We simply can’t approach mid-level donors in the same way we would major donors or annual fund donors. We have to make it clear to them that their donations are highly valued and they are really making a difference.

Did any of this information about mid-level donors surprise you? Have you been approaching your mid-level donors like low-level donors?