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Major and Mid Value Donors

Two Ways to Approach Your Mid-Value and Major Donors

A well-researched tale about two fundraising approaches.

Featuring Bastian the fundraiser at Malnutrition: Unacceptable For Children (MUFC) and Jamie from Let’s Feed Children (LFC).

Bastian and Jamie both became fundraisers at about the same time just over a year ago. Both had the job of increasing revenue from their ‘mid-value’ donors: people who had given more than average.

Neither charity had ever had a mid or major donor program beyond their existing direct mail programs.

Bastian, MUFC

Bastian knew that the more you know about donors, the more chance you have of getting a large donation from them. MUFC had never had a major donor program so this was a great opportunity.

Since he arrived at MUFC, he identified prospects ‘worth’ approaching for a personal visit:

  • A: 955 donors currently giving large amounts through the direct mail program.
  • B: 196 donors currently not giving lots, but with potential. Determined by asking a major donor prospecting data agency to scan the MUFC donor database for rich people, (36 were giving more than €500 to MUFC)
  • C: 254 prospects who were identified as wealthy connections to MUFC. For example, some were friends of board members, others were ‘known’ wealthy locals.

Bastian had spent about €3,500 plus his time getting the data from the database.

He now had over 1,400 prospects: 955 + 196 where he knew their past giving history and 254 who hadn’t given.

Bastian now knew he had to prioritise. He asked the prospecting agency to provide profiles of the 36 prospects giving over €500 (i.e., rich people who were already giving large-ish gifts).

In addition, he asked the agency if they had profiles of any of the 254 ‘C’ prospects on their database.

They had quite a few and he paid extra for 44 of the best prospects profiles.

This cost of these 80 profiles (36 + 44) was €60,000 plus about twenty hours of work -– but now he had a lot of great information.

For his final research, he hired a temp researcher who helped him Google and use other public information to learn more about the remaining prospects.

Bastian managed to achieve all that within three months of starting his job with MUFC.

Next, he started building brilliant, individualised cases for support for the top 80 prospects.

This work took him about nine months – back and forth with field workers, case studies and trying to get a ‘shopping’ list of items donors may be interested in.

Now he had everything lined up.

He started trying to contact the top 80 prospects: which included the 36 rich people who had given over €500 (donor prospects) and the 44 really rich people (cold prospects) who were connected to board members or just wealthy and local.

After another three months, approximately one in four of the donor prospects agreed to meet. And nearly all those who did made donations.

Only one board member managed to get a meeting specifically about donating to MUFC with any of the cold prospects. She met three people but wasn’t able to ask. She said it was the ‘wrong time.’

About 15 months from starting, he had raised €90,000 plus €50,000 in pledges.

Another board member committed to raising €10,000 for MUFC at an upcoming golf day. That board member ‘ring-fenced’ his contacts, telling Bastian to wait until after that day to follow up. Of course, he would ask for a decent time-frame between the golf day and a formal approach. Probably a year.

So, after 15 months, tons of work and a cost of about €65,000 Bastian had raised €90,000 and had  €50,000 in pledges. If those pledges came in, he should have covered all of his costs in just 15 months.

Jamie, LFC

Jamie took a different approach.

She knew that the most likely to donate were people who had donated before, but since only about one in four or one in five would ever agree to meet, she decided to research people after they had agreed to meet.

Step one for her was the same as Bastian’s. Look at the database.

She identified these prospects:

  • A: 812 donors giving large amounts through the direct mail program. These mid and major gift prospects had all given to LFC’s direct mail in the past.

Jamie worked with the direct marketing team to identify what the next campaign would be. She interviewed a worker from the field, collected some extra photos from the direct marketing team and copied some videos they had on the website to her iPad.

After six weeks she really understood the cause, had lots of stories and lots of video from the next direct mail (and web) campaign.

She then went through the list of donors, called them and asked them for meetings.

Over the next six weeks, she managed to speak with 380 of the 812 donors! Twenty actually made donations over the phone – usually about the same size as previously, but one gave €20,000.

Of the remaining 360, 205 agreed to meet. Before each meeting, she Googled them to find out what she could. Even after that, she knew nothing about most except their previous giving to LFC. But that was enough.

Within those six weeks, she had met up with 160 of her mid and major gift prospects. She managed to get total donations of €390,000.

In total, she had raised over €400,000 in her first three months. She knew from the database it was €250,000 more than what these people had ever donated before in a year.

Not bad, but next she needed some really big donations which wouldn’t be as quick. So she convinced the boss to take on someone else to keep this pace up, whilst she started looking at those BIG prospects.

Learnings from this story:

  • Most donors won’t meet you. But that’s OK. Even attempting is good donor care.
  • Focus on people who have given to your organisation in the past. They are much more likely to give than those who have never given. And don’t be tempted early by those big wigs your board knows. Board ‘leads’ can be awesome, but rarely. Start with the low hanging fruit.
  • Wait until donors agree to meet you before you spend time doing research beyond previous giving.  That way you will be more effective and be able to meet many, many more donors. Living in this state of frantic research is fine if planned. And don’t worry if you don’t find much more out. Their previous giving is the gold dust of research.
  • You probably already have great major gift propositions within your current programs. You don’t have to develop new cases for support straight away.
  • Fundraising planning and tactics are all about the numbers. Jamie chased the numbers.
  • This approach doesn’t excuse you from chasing the biggies, where things take longer and more thorough research is worth the effort. Ultimately do both, but in the first place – just get out there and ask.
  • There are no excuses for relationship/philanthropy/major donor fundraisers getting out there and asking. Fast.

Ready for the powerful boost in revenue when you transform your relationship with your mid and major donors? Take the Moceanic Mid-Value Donor Super Course that includes a full module about making the BIG ask. It is available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab.

Any connection between the names of these charities and English Premier League teams is nearly coincidental.

Modules:
CFRE Points:
The Hitchhikers Guide to Major Donor Fundraising part 2
Major and Mid Value Donors

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Major Donor Fundraising, Part 2

A few years ago I was telling my Hitchhiker’s Guide to Major Donor Fundraising story to Amnesty International Canada.

AIC for hitchhikers guide Sean Triner

We were looking together at their major donors, identifying potential people and then going through the hardest bit: asking.

I play a naughty trick, ensuring that the training finishes an hour ahead of schedule and then suggesting the attendees actually call some donors to say thank you, and make some appointments.

I have found that this helps build confidence and get some momentum going.

Anyway, as time was ticking along one of the callers got into a conversation with a lovely donor.

At first, the donor agreed to an appointment, then when he thought about it more, he decided it was too difficult to make a date.

Don't Panic For Hitchhikers Guide_Sean Triner

But our Amnesty International Canada colleague was charming, involving and listened well. By the end, the donor had agreed to make a donation there and then of $10,000. His previous largest gift was $1,000.

What a great bloke. The amount he gave was exactly 10 times his previous largest gift. And also the amount the training had said we should ask for.

Want to know more about Mid-Value Donors? Sean covers this important topic in the Mid-Value Donor Super Course that is available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab. Find out more here.

Modules:
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OnlineGIving e1518671229440
Digital FundraisingTrends

Digital Fundraising Beyond Doggies and Dolphins

The Soi Dog Foundation and Australia for Dolphins have had enormous success in global fundraising using the digital ‘multi-step’ approach.

Although based in Thailand and Australia respectively, the two charities fundraised globally with shocking images, which helped them get traction.

soi dog foundation

But what about the rest of us charities? Well, we can learn from these superstars – they have both been very generous in sharing what they’ve learned.

In terms of ‘shareability’ mental health may at first feel like it sits at the other extreme – but Australian mental health agency Lifeline doesn’t hold back.

With the help of Pareto Fundraising they launched a campaign asking people to sign a petition, make a donation and become a monthly giver. I became a supporter too – they do a fantastic job and I used to work at a mental health charity.

Julie Kirby from Lifeline told me:

“The campaign has really resonated with the Australian public, and using Facebook and email to supporters has helped make two big achievements possible (our new phone support service Text4Good and new suicide prevention trial sites).

Working with Pareto Fundraising and Pareto Phone we were able to secure 1083 wonderful new regular givers and 827 new cash donors as well!”

Their latest great stewardship email is below.

email lifeline

A multi-step digital approach is a great option for many charities that need to find new monthly givers – with the added benefit of engaging lots of people beyond donations too.

If you are interested and needing a digital approach to find new donors and engaging lots of people beyond donations, then you need to watch this 9 min 30 sec video on Fast Tips for Fundraising on Facebook.

Modules:
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Amnesty International
Direct MailDonor LoveMajor and Mid Value Donors

Great Donor Care from Amnesty International

You know how we all worry about overheads? Well, Josh O’Rourke, a relationship fundraiser from Amnesty International Australia had a good approach with one of his mid-value donors.

Having met up with a mid-value donor who had ‘only’ ever given $2,000, Josh found out the donor was keen to multiply her donation. The donor asked to be anonymous, but let’s call her Janine after Josh’s mum.

There is lots of evidence that ‘multiplying gift appeals’ increases average donation and/or response rate. The offer is something like ‘Donate by 30 June and our sponsor will match your gift…’

Janine had obviously liked that offer previously.

Chatting with his colleagues in direct marketing, Josh found out there were no matching gift campaigns that she could contribute to at that time. So he turned it on its head and asked Janine to be the ‘sponsor’ who would be matching other people’s gifts!

It turned out she was keen and interested in Amnesty’s campaign on the back of their work with indigenous children. She gave $30,000. Josh was chuffed, as were his colleagues in digital direct marketing. They usually have such a campaign around this time of year and hadn’t got a sponsor. They emailed it today.

Within ninety minutes of the email going out, they had raised $20,000, and will definitely whizz past the $30,000. Janine’s donation will be worth at least $60,000 to Amnesty’s important work.
Amnesty was making sure Janine felt like a VIP.

I hope this Amnesty YouTube video gives you some inspiration!

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