Identifying and nurturing mid-level donors with donor management software

In response to recent findings on the value offered by middle income donors, ministries should take a closer look at their giving level programs and adopt nonprofit software. A better understanding of middle donor capabilities, along with structured guidance, will lead organizations and constituents toward a more profitable and mutually beneficial relationship. 

Who are middle donors?
Each ministry must define for itself what constitutes a middle donor. This phrase can be used to describe those contributors who give a specific amount each year. For example, Nonprofit Quarterly stated that an annual gift between $1,000 and $10,000 to the World Wildlife Fund lands a donor in the WWF's middle range. However, mid-level donors could also be thought of as those who make a middle class income. Donors who make between $30,000 and $100,000 annually can be considered mid-level donors. Often, these two definitions coincide.

What do middle donors contribute?
According to a report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and based on data compiled by the Internal Revenue Service, between 2006 and 2012, Americans who fell into the low- and middle-income brackets donated more of their earnings to charitable organizations than high-income constituents. In 2012, Americans who made less than $100,000 per year donated roughly 5 percent more of their income to nonprofits than they did in 2006. Over the same period of time, residents earning less than $25,000 annually increased their donations by 16.6 percent. In contrast, America's wealthiest, those people taking in over $200,000 every year, gave 4.5 percent less in 2012 than they did in 2006.

During this time frame, the U.S. experienced a recession. Wealthier Americans tend to give less to charities when the economy suffers than poorer people, proportionately speaking. Americans who make less money are more in tune with the needs of people suffering financially and contribute more to social service programs.

Religious beliefs may also be an influencing factor when it comes to donations from various economic groups. Among industrialized nations, the U.S. falls among the most religious. Philanthropy Roundtable noted that Americans give seven times more to charitable organizations every year than Europeans and twice as much as Canadians. Religion is a large motivating factor when it comes to nonprofit support in the U.S.

How can ministries nurture their middle donors?
Many ministries may find establishing a sturdy platform for middle level donors to be difficult. It is, however, crucial to the longevity and prosperity of an organization. Rather than focusing on generating major gifts and direct marketing tactics, nonprofits must hone in on discovering tangible methods to increase donations in this middle bracket.

Wealth Engine advises pinpointing the most promising mid-level donors based on how recently they gave to an organization, how often they've donated over the years and the amounts they have given. Consistency among these three factors is a strong indicator of a good mid-level donor.

Establishing a staff person or group who will devote their time solely to fostering strong relationships with these middle donors is an excellent move. Make contact with these constituents on a more regular basis, inviting them to special events or on tours of projects and facilities. Personalized interactions – whether a handwritten note or luncheon held in honor of just mid-level donors – demonstrate a real sense of pride and thankfulness.

Adopting nonprofit software can prove essential to working with and growing the mid-level donor base. It can track giving habits over time and retains up-to-date constituent information. The system also allows donors to maintain their own profiles and offers swift online donation options. Ministries that empower themselves with nonprofit software will be able to harness the extensive generosity of their middle level contributors.