We know, on average, around 80% of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from 20% of its donors. We also know there will be around 20% of a nonprofit’s donors who give one-time gifts or small, regular gifts. This leaves 60% in the middle.

Does your nonprofit have a plan for reaching the majority of your donors? Here are tips for intentionally attending to mid-level donors:

Think of them as potential major gift donors

In the same way fundraisers should assume the answer is yes – and keep following up – until they hear a clear and unequivocal no, nonprofits should view mid-level donors as major gift donors in the making. Ask yourself the same questions you would about your top 20%: “Are we communicating well?” “Have we shown genuine recognition and appreciation for their past giving?” “Have we cultivated these relationships well?”

Allocate staff time and resources to mining mid-level donor data

Many nonprofits have designated staff positions for tasks related to major gifts. Few have taken a similar approach when addressing their largest demographic: mid-level donors. If you haven’t already, make an investment in reviewing your data records to explore this untapped potential. Use what you already know about donor identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation and appreciation to uncover unrealized gifts.

Be strategic with the data you uncover

Take a deep dive into your donor records to get to know these names, titles, addresses and giving histories as unique individuals. Ask yourself, “What would happen if we moved beyond direct mail solicitations or email asks?” One organization that turned their attention to mid-level donors discovered many of them had considered giving a larger amount, but had not yet made the decision. When someone from the organization reached out to donors personally, it nudged them forward exponentially.

Focusing on mid-level donors isn’t just a thoughtful idea, it can be a major money maker.

R. Scott Justvig, CFRE
Executive Vice President