A component of annual giving programs that has emerged over the last several years is the mid-level giving society. Many nonprofits and healthcare organizations in particular have successfully launched mid-level giving programs as an effective means of bonding donors with the organization and raising significant revenue. More important, they can serve as the bridge between annual fund and major gifts.

We at Schultz & Williams have been privileged to assist many of our clients as they look to forge a more personal connection with donors and to recognize and prepare those donors that have both the capacity and the inclination to make a more substantial commitment.

A thoughtful plan and actionable strategy are integral to the success of a newly formed mid-level giving club; the following key elements should be established before launch:

  • An identity. The club or society should have a name and a graphic identity (as minimal as a font treatment) to distinguish this group of donors.
  • A minimum donation amount. Generally the entry point for membership or inclusion is not less than $500 and not greater than $1,000.
  • Levels within the society to encourage upgrading over time.
  • Recognition and benefits associated with individual levels.
  • A first-year solicitation plan that includes personalized direct mail, email and individual phone calls to encourage upgrades and renewals.
  • Opportunitiesfor these donors to make additional gifts throughout the year.

The components of strong mid-level giving programs are as integrated as the organization’s infrastructure will allow (mail, email, telemarketing), and, as always, strong communication is key to engagement, stewardship and trust.

The less tangible benefit of strengthening the bond between donor and whomever or whatever the organization supports—patients, children, policy advocates, etc.—is at the heart of these giving programs’ success.