Key imperatives to super charge growth with these amazing donors!
By Kimberley Blease, EVP Blakely
What drove our growth prior to 2020 is not going to get us where we need to go – and in the vital area of mid value giving this is truth. Donor experience, delivering amazing content and being relevant and engaging have always been key to growth in mid level giving, but they are even more important now. Changing donor attitudes, an increased number of charities who are investing in the delivery of great donor experience and the need for diversified revenues are driving us to do more – and do it better.
Maybe you have attracted hundreds or even thousands of new donors this year and many are giving more than they have previously – average gifts are up by 55% across our client programs and more people are giving at the leadership level (we have seen an increase of 84% YOY in $1000 plus gifts YTD) – so how do we keep these inspired donors engaged moving forward?
What are your barriers to doing more?
We know there are barriers for organizations to building their mid level giving programs, starting with resources – less staff, restricted budgets in areas that should be growing, and simply trying to do more with less; this is the story we hear the most.
But other barriers like lack of inspiring and relevant content, a lack of willingness to invest in mid level as a key strategy (actual investing, which means more than closed envelopes as a part of the annual program) and the big one – the core way we connect with leadership level donors are all real challenges. Many of our clients relied on front-line staff connections and donor engagement events to build high value relationships and that’s just not possible in the same way it used to be.
New ways to connect and inspire
The opportunity in mid value giving lies in the discovery of new ways of connecting – and in building more understanding of who our mid value donors are, and what they want from us to do more. Investment in insights, affinity and audience frameworks are powerful tools in the re-build of mid value programs in today’s marketplace. There is opportunity to use these to build exciting donor journeys for a range of mid value donors and prospects, and really connect them to your mission.
Mid level donors are fascinating when you start looking at specific groups within the files. Real differences in needs and what attracts people in terms of experience emerge based on the age of the donor – but gender and geographical location impact motivations and content needs too. We know through all of the affinity surveys we have conducted for mid value, that lower level mid value differ considerably in what they need from investment from top tier mid value donors.
Knowing what content your donors want and how they want to receive, is not about asking them if they like telemarketing. It’s about getting to the root of the reasons they give to you – their connections to the mission and values and understanding what inspires them. We utilize a very special type of affinity survey (not a regular donor survey) to do the heavy lifting around connections and content and when you combine this with our analytics and market insights – it’s a powerful trifecta in building new approaches that yield growth and inspire more people to give.
Is the productization of mid value right for you?
The investment in clear mid level propositions and distinctive offers is also a powerful tool. In order to engage with people, you need to be clear with your why. This is where the opportunity to productize your mid level program may make sense – building your strong proposition into a full-blown product complete with features and benefits and a go to market strategy. There is nothing like an investment in a product to ramp up the focus on an area of giving and create momentum.
Productization of mid value is an amazing way to create continuity in the program for donors and ensure you are doing everything you can to inspire them and keep them inspired. It also makes you less impacted by staff turnover and creates more stability for donors in the experience. Some organizations also find they are better at attracting mid value donors from the very first gift with a strong mid level product, based on the right proposition.
If you are asking yourself right now, ‘what can I do, to do better in 2021?’ Start with gratitude and call, personally email or send a note to all of your mid value donors who have given to you in 2020. They are the backbone of your program and there is no limit to authentic thanking as a strategy for ongoing engagement, particularly at a time when people are isolated and struggling. Your donors are humans and they are going through their own journey, so make sure you are bringing them along with you!
Recognizing unique donor needs and delivering on these will make the difference in your recovery and diversification strategies, well past 2021. We believe that mid value donor development is a “must do” strategic imperative for every organization to be working on now.
If you feel like it’s time to formalize your mid level program or you want to re-energize it for growth, talk to Kimberley Blease at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can demonstrate the value of investing in insights and affinity surveys, proposition and productization and help you build inspiring donor journeys that will contribute to your bottom line in 2021 and beyond. And we just like to talk about mid value giving!