We entered muggles. We left magicians.

June 19, 2018 - by Mark Gould for the DMAW

I think it was Dumbledore who once said, “Magic is best taught in the morning.”

In truth, I’m not sure he said this.

But morning was the perfect time for DMAW to host “Mid-level Magic”—taught by marketing masters Lisa Maska, CFRE and Jillian Leslie of Lautman Maska Neill & Company.

Lisa and Jillian opened this great Wake-Up & Learn event with the question that had brought us all to SEIU at 8am that morning: “Why is mid-level important?”

The answer: While giving continues to remain flat at 2% of income for the majority of donors nationwide, higher income donors ($100k-$200k) today donate 2.6% of income annually, which means a greater ROI opportunity if you devote the resources and time to properly cultivate this segment.

So what exactly constitutes mid-level? For some organizations, it might be $500-$4,999 donors, but the range can vary. In determining the sweet spot for your organization, Lisa and Jillian agreed that a good starting point is to look at the staff resources available for one-on-one donor contact and cultivation.

The mid-level range should encompass the group where you can begin to incorporate some cultivation and personal contact. They’re not yet at the point where virtually all solicitation is made via personal calls or visits, but they’re above being solicited via direct response campaigns alone.

It’s important to make mid-level donors feel special. Techniques that can help achieve this include providing these donors with insider info, educating them on your organization’s long-term needs, and focusing on the impact of what their giving has helped accomplish.

Mid-level donors don’t necessarily need completely different packages than those being developed for your core DM program. Sometimes small tweaks, such as going from a window to closed face carrier or adding a gold foil decal (which produced a measurable lift in return for one client), can create a higher-touch look/feel to make this segment feel important.

When it comes to types of marketing contact, Lisa and Jillian said it’s good to remind others in your organization that NOT ALL HIGH $$ DONORS ARE THE SAME. Many are fine with (and want to continue receiving) DM contacts once they become mid-level.

And when it comes to contact frequency, remind everyone that EVEN IF YOUR ORGANIZATION CUTS BACK ON YOUR # OF ASKS PER YEAR, OTHER ORGANIZATIONS WILL NOT CUT BACK.

Avoiding friction between DM and major gift officers is another important tip for mid-level magic, as too much friction can lead to donors not being contacted enough by either. Some suggestions for winning major gift officer buy-in included sending DM pieces with softer asks, or as in the case with one of their clients, inserting lift notes with personal messages from each gift officer in DM packages.

Lisa and Jillian also noted the importance of simply knowing your donors (what message were donors acquired on…were they acquired on premium) and saying “thank you.” TY calls from staff/board or TY postcards are a great technique as they can’t be mistaken for another ask.

Finally, Lisa and Jillian reminded everyone that what may work for one organization may not work for others when it comes to mid-level programs.

Some organizations may have success with designated upgrade ask packages…others with asking donors to join a named higher giving club/society. Some others might simply include higher amounts in the ask string, without specifically calling out that they’re asking them to upgrade.

The bottom line… get out that magic wand and test different approaches to see what works best!

Article reprinted from: http://www.dmaw.org/blog/entered-muggles-left-magicians/

Industry Articles

June 2018

The Magic Your Organization Needs

April 2018

5 Sure-fire Ways to Increase Response Rates

September 2017

Red, Blue or Indifferent: The Election Changed Fundraising

July 2017

It’s July: Do You Know Where Your 2018 Direct Response Budget Is?

June 2017

7 Ideas For Multi-Channel Break-Throughs

November 2016

8 Years of Uncertainty is Enough

September 2016

Direct Mail Premiums: Pros and Cons From a Former Pro

August 2016

Beyond Email Copy

July 2016

Podcast on On Direct Response Fundraising – with guest Lisa Maska

June 2016

Giving USA: 2015 Was America’s Most-Generous Year Ever

May 2016

Philanthropy: Make Your Mother Proud

July 2015

Fundriaisng Day in New York City

June 2015

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Most in Report’s 60-year History

April 2015

Taget Analytics | donorCentrics™ Index of Direct Marketing Fundraising 2014 Results

March 2015

Communication is Key to Saving Money

February 2015

The 2014 Charitable Giving Report

February 2015

Obama Budget Again Calls for Limit to Charitable Deduction

November 2014

Charitable Giving: How to evaluate and support good causes

November 2014

Member Spotlight

September 2014

The Science Of A Donor Acquisition Package

July 2014

Consider the Environment. Print this.

July 2014

"Pink Slips" Win Big At MAXI Awards

June 2014

Giving USA 2014 Highlights

May 2014

Education Opportunities for Non-Profit Executives

March 2014

Member Spotlight: Emerging Leader

February 2014

Learning From MAXI Excellence

September 2013

30 Brilliant Bits of Online Fundraising Wisdom from the Experts

August 2013

Building a Stronger Bridge: Conference Volunteer, Tiffany Neill Looks Ahead

June 2013

Non-Profit Fundraising and Marketing in a Multi-Channel World

June 2013

Invest in Marketing and Fundraising to Encourage Innovation

November 2012

Direct Response: Not So ‘Direct’ Anymore?