Engaging Mid-Level Donors: 3 Strategies for Nonprofits

Sarah Sebastian

January 17, 2023

About the Author

Sarah Sebastian

Sarah Sebastian is the Director of Corporate Communications at OneCause. She’s a marketer and brand geek at heart with eight years of experience in the nonprofit tech space. Outside of work, Sarah can be found reading, hiking, kayaking, volunteering for Florida Access Network, or getting lost in the woods while photographing birds.

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Donor engagement is one of the fundamental components of a winning fundraising strategy. When a nonprofit focuses on donor engagement, it helps improve the longevity of their relationship and strengthen the donor’s connection to the cause. 

When looking to engage your donor base, it can be easy to overlook mid-level donors and shift your focus to more major donors. However, it is these mid-level donors who create the fundraising foundation your organization needs to keep empowering your mission. Ever since 2020, nonprofits have seen fewer mid-level donor contributions compared to the past. So, how can your nonprofit leverage this donor segment and keep them passionate about contributing to your mission?  

We will dive deep into 3 strategies to keep your mid-level donors engaged:  

  1. Get to know your donors  
  2. Create a unique donor experience  
  3. Emphasize the impact of regular involvement  

Leveraging these tactics is a surefire way to increase your mid-level donor retention and the fundraising potential for your organization.  

1. Get to know your mid-level donors.  

A crucial step in any good relationship is laying the right foundation. When it comes to mid-level donor relationships, every nonprofit must take the time to get to know them. When you know your donor, you’re able to tailor your approach in a way that will tug on their heart strings and cause them to take action (by donating to your cause). 

When getting to know your donors, be sure to collect, organize, and use data to strengthen your donor relationships. Consider tracking the following items when connecting with your mid-level donors:  

  1. Engagement level: Every donor engages with an organization in different ways. Track when, what type of events, and how frequently your donors are engaging with your nonprofit. Finding patterns within this data will help you focus on creating campaigns or events where your mid-level donors are more likely to participate.  
  2. Demographic information: Keep track of basic personal information for your mid-level donors. This will help your nonprofit to create a more unique and personalized experience. 
  3. Connection to your cause: Learning the “why” behind every donor’s relationship can impact your outreach and retention strategies. Personalizing your communications to your donor’s “why” will help keep mid-level donors engaged with your cause!  

Once you have built a deep understanding of your mid-level donors, it is time to store this information in your donor database. This database should provide a convenient, organized way for you to find all necessary donor information. With the right information, your nonprofit is ready to create experiences for this mid-level donor type.   

2. Create a unique mid-level donor experience. 

Hosting unique experiences catered to your mid-level donors is an easy way to deepen their connection with your mission and help them feel recognized for their contributions. A few of our favorite ideas include:  

  • Happy Hour  
  • Donor Appreciation Events 
  • Holiday Celebrations 

Focusing on personalization in these events ensures the most mid-level donor engagement, while keeping your donors as a part of your mission and impact beyond just their gift.  

Here are 3 quick tips to remember when creating these donor experiences:  

  1. Focus on being professional but not overly formal: Keep a professional tone to your event, but create a space where donors are comfortable to share their experiences with your cause.  
  2. Present actionable information: Use these events to demonstrate how mid-level donors’ contributions fund your mission and provide value and impact to your overall organizational growth.  
  3. Show your appreciation: No matter the event type, show your donors how grateful you are to have them involved with your cause. Showing gratitude is an easy way to retain your donors and make them feel a part of your organization.  

These events provide nonprofits a way to connect with mid-level donors without immediately diving into donation solicitation. Establishing your mid-level donors as a key player in your organizational structure emphasizes their impact outside of just donations!  

3. Emphasize the impact of regular involvement. 

Regular involvement from your mid-level donors can dramatically impact the overall success of your nonprofit’s growth. Mid-level donors are easier to come by than major donors and can provide an ample level of support when they are actively engaged. Plus, a mid-level donor is much more likely to eventually become a major donor than someone with no prior connection to your organization.

Creating year-round involvement opportunities keeps your donors interested, involved, and engaged with your nonprofit. Regular involvement experiences can include: 

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising: Leverage your supporters’ networks through peer-to-peer fundraising. This increases the visibility of your mission and allows you to reach individuals who aren’t connected to your cause yet. 
  • Volunteering: Provide experiences where donors can give their time, not just their money, to support your nonprofit. Recruiting donors as volunteers also helps address any potential staffing issues at your events! 
  • Board membership: Give your donors the opportunity to join your board. They already care about your cause and thus will provide useful insights to improve your nonprofit’s performance. 

Creating regular involvement turns your one-time mid-level donors into year-round supporters. Try out these involvement opportunities in your mid-level donor strategy and let us know what you think!

Maintaining your relationship with mid-level donors, who are often overlooked but critical for the long-term health of your nonprofit, is essential. Creating a strategy to specifically target them will ensure they remain highly engaged with your cause for years to come.  

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