Sunday, December 19, 2010

Your Mid Level Donors

Hello Everyone!! I’m back! Sorry for the two week hiatus, a conference, illness and a busy work schedule threw me off track—I apologize! Today I have quite a few thoughts running through the old noggin so let’s tackle the first one and I will share the others with you in upcoming posts. At the ADRP conference in San Francisco, I got to see many of you in person and I heard a lot of great questions from attendees! One of the things that kept us talking was centered around our mid level donors, a group that traditionally has been overlooked and underserved. We do a wonderful job stewarding those donors that give through endowments, building campaigns, and other high level ways. In addition, we have fun creating first time donor programs and cost effective and impactful programs for our annual donors, the “small and mighty” as I call them… But what are we doing for those that fall in between?? It has been said that a giving pyramid without consistent, evenly leveled stewardship will begin to resemble an hourglass. I have witnessed this first hand at some of the organizations I have consulted for. So as with any problem, this one must have a solution, correct? If there isn’t a silver bullet what is the approach that works best for the mid level donors to help make them see the impact of their gifts while moving them upward toward larger philanthropic giving levels? All of this while not adding staff, spending a ton of money and ignoring the top and bottom of our pyramids?? In addition, how can we effectively track these donors and measure the impact of our efforts with them? One suggestion I might put forward is to systematically provide this group with strategic communications and opportunities for access that already exist, but are either underutilized or not optimized for this group. Allow them to hear something first, to experience something that others may not have the access to, like a rehearsal for a musical company or a dress rehearsal of a play, and make the opportunity meaningful for them. This is just one approach, are there others? What is working for you with your mid level donors? Have you seen anything innovative, leave your comments below and I will be happy to discuss! Thanks!

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