Imagine you are invited to a party. You get dressed up and you make your way over to your hosts’s house eager to share the beautiful chocolate cake you’ve made.

When you arrive and ring the bell… no one greets you. The lights are on and you hear activity inside, so you gently open the door. The host swoops over, takes the cake without saying hello, and disappears into the kitchen without a word.

Party foul, right? Who in their right mind would say yes to another invitation from this host?

Well that’s how many midlevel donors feel. They’ve answered the invitation. They’ve made an extremely generous contribution. Yet they are ignored once they arrive. And guess what? They likely won’t give again.

If your organization does not have a midlevel-specific onboarding strategy for new midlevel donors, you are making this same mistake.

The good news is that this is fairly simple to remedy.

(1) Make sure you are tracking all new midlevel donors who qualify by either by making a large-enough one-time gift or smaller cumulative gifts.

(2) When someone qualifies as a midlevel donor, send them a prompt and heartfelt thank you by mail and digitally (if you have their email address). This should feel like a big warm hug, NOT a form letter. You’ll get bonus points if you have capacity to have a volunteer or board member call to say thank you if you have a phone number associated with their record.

(3) Map out three months of communications efforts for your new midlevel donors. What touches do you want them to receive by what channel? Do you want to formally introduce them into a program with benefits? Do you want to send them a special midlevel impact report? Do you want to invite them to a special event?

(4) Operationalize your plan. A donor journey does not exist unless you do it.

(5) Measure retention. Make sure you are tracking the percentage of new midlevel donors who continue to make a mid-level qualifying donation in year 2. Ideally, this would be well above the 25% industry standard.

Retention starts the minute someone makes a donation. Don’t make a rookie party planner mistake and blow it with a botched welcome.


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