Non-Profit Solutions That
Increase Donors

Do You Have A Moves Management Program For Your Mid-Level Donors?

Your nonprofit organization has a solid base of “mid-level” donors … those who make gifts that are greater and/or more frequent than the average. You communicate with these donors regularly via direct mail, and they respond with gifts on a consistent basis. Not a bad starting point.

Your direct mail campaign, however, has its limitations. Perhaps it is having limited success in upgrading that $250 donor to $500, $1,000 or above. Maybe the $1,000 donor gets lost in the mix between annual giving and a major gifts officer personal contact. Or more likely, it fails to transform enough of these moderate gifts into planned or major gifts.

The result? Your program suffers from stagnation at the mid-level of your donor base.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. The fact is, standard direct mail pieces can yield fruitful results, but usually only under the right circumstances. Truth is, direct mail – alone — is not always the most effective way to upgrade mid-level donors. And sometimes, depending on direct mail to steward an important donor relationship can create more problems than positives. You need to do something more.


Your toolbox should consist of a variety of enhanced direct marketing “touches” that are built around your existing mail, phone or other marketing channel appeals. Each of them is used to cement or advance your donor relationships, with the goal of making future and ongoing appeals more successful.

Here’re a few ideas to think about …

Welcome Postcard

Simply order your stock of self-mailer welcome postcards for the year. Each time a new gift comes in, you’ll have a postcard to send out to the donor.

Welcome Packet

Take a collaborative approach in customizing the welcome packet for your particular organization. The package may include pieces such as these:

* A second thank-you letter acknowledging the donor’s new relationship with your organization
* Back issues of donor newsletters
* Recent news clippings
* Information on how else to get involved

Annual Thank-You Postcard

Thank donors for their support over the previous 12 months by mailing this postcard at the close of the fiscal and/or calendar year. Again, a self-mailer.

News Clipping Notes

Want to update donors above a certain level about your organization’s press coverage? Consider accompanying the latest news with pre-printed notes. (For instance, the message could read, “We thought you might be interested in learning about one way your support is making a difference in our community.”) You may also include relevant news clippings — or even build appeals around them — in solicitations.

Thank-You Phone Call

Try making calls to first-time donors, donors who have upgraded and/or consistent givers who renew. Not another ask, just a thank you. You may learn more about donor need when you can speak with your valued contributors.

Newsletter or Semi-annual Progress Report

Use these mailings to inform donors above a certain level about how your organization is using their gifts.

Event Invitations

Planning and hosting donor events are not an easy task. Besides inviting higher-level donors to certain events, you also could invite lower-level donors who have given consistently over the years. Remember, gift frequency is a harbinger for planned giving.

Planned Giving Newsletter

This is an excellent option for organizations that need to increase the visibility of their planned gift program but lacks the staff resources to do so.

Loyalty Recognition

Often times, donors who have given consistently for 10 years fall below the cut-off level for leadership giving levels, and, therefore, don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Acknowledge the loyalty of this important donor group via a special thank-you letter or a listing in the annual report.

Email follow-ups

Design and implement a strategic plan for the use of email to announce initiatives, to set the stage for a special “ask,” or to follow-up on an appeal. Donors are encouraged to continue to make gifts via mail, or to visit the website and make contributions on-line.

Enhancing Your On-line Giving Options

Recent statistics indicates donors that make gifts on-line are more apt to maintain and upgrade their support. Make it easy for donors to go to — and to give — on your website.

Improve the Stewardship of Your Overall Donor Relationships

All giving – especially at the higher end of the pyramid – is impacted by how well the non-profit answers donor needs. Even though your program seeks unrestricted income, what part of what you do is of particular interest – to them? Borns Group/VDM can assist in discovering what makes your high-end donors “tick.” And VDMArtful Strategies introduces the best ways to utilize this information at the key points of your campaign.

Update Contact Strategies by Utilizing all Data in Your Files

Borns Group/VDM will work with you to identify ways to migrate your fundraising and contact strategies from old technology – Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) – to Analytics-Based campaigning (ABC). Move towards the use of all known data when strategizing what channel, tool, form, frequency, and message is best used to communicate and solicit support.

Remember…as was mentioned in our last Alert, direct mail fundraising is relationship marketing in a microcosm. Its success is built on the message and how it’s delivered.

What else are you doing to steward your donor relationship? Share them and we’ll consider publishing them in a future Borns Group/VDM Strategy Alert!

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