Engaging Mid-Level Prospects Today – Laying the Foundation for Extraordinary Philanthropy Tomorrow | npENGAGE

Engaging Mid-Level Prospects Today – Laying the Foundation for Extraordinary Philanthropy Tomorrow

By on Sep 29, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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I am so excited and proud to say that NOZA is one of the products that Target Analytics offers.  I get my weekly NOZA Gift Alerts, and at that point I am reminded of the generosity and strong philanthropic tradition that exists in this country.  We are living in very economically challenging times, but it is encouraging to see how strong the desire is to give back to the community that made some of these philanthropists successful and prosperous.  The NOZA website lists almost 59 million listings of donations in the US with over 66 million records with $1 million+ donations and almost 2 million records with $10,000+ gifts.  So that started me thinking…

When working with our clients, I can sense how important it is for them to identify and hopefully acquire future major donors.  At the same time many of these same clients have a need to identify the middle of the pyramid, or what is called mid-level prospects.  The exciting part of this is that some of these mid-level givers become our future major donors, thus can be thought of as transitional donors.  We should not lose sight of these prospects if we want to build a strong development program now and for the future.  These transitional prospects may be your potential “John and Mary Does” who give “XYZ University” a $25 million donation down the road.  Those donors and prospects may  remember, in a very generous manner, how the nonprofits they have encountered have made a difference in their lives – Whether it be their alma mater giving them a first-class college education, a hospital that provided the most innovative care to their parents, or the orchestra that filled their hearts with joy on their anniversary. 

But what will make the difference is how well these nonprofits provided appropriate and timely stewardship to these prospects along their journey towards making the ultimate gift.  Did you engage them with communication by whatever means that was meaningful and convenient to them?  Technology provides the tools to track where your prospects browse and click on your website, or through email clicks, or if a prospect “liked” you or posted something about your organization via social media.  Did you engage them with your organization all along the way, or just when they became financially successful? 

I feel that social media will continue to play a role in how we engage those transitional prospects along their philanthropic journey.  Prospects from generations who either grew their careers or grew up during the tech boom – think younger Baby Boomers, and Generations X and Y – need to be engaged using their language and medium, and touching them via the most popular social media outlets is relevant and cost-effective.  This will ensure that your organization’s mission and message gets out there with these potential future philanthropists.  Tweeting important news about reaching a particular fund-raising goal, uploading a video of one of your events on YouTube, and announcing an on-line auction via Facebook are just a few of the easy and cost-effective ways to engage with your constituency.

So I guess you could say that I think it is a good idea, if you have not already, to start looking more and more at the middle of the pyramid and more innovative ways to engage your constituents.  These prospects can provide a very strong base of support, and they may also transition to becoming one of the major donors who end up on Blackbaud’s NOZA Gift Alerts emails, and that be a wonderful story to tell!  With almost 2,500 subscribers to these gift alerts (and counting), the story of extraordinary philanthropy continues to be part of the American landscape.

For more information on mid-level prospect fundraising and identification, you can reference the following on our Blackbaud website:

For more information on our website on social media and technology trends, feel free to reference the following:

Carol Belair is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach her at carol.belair@blackbaud.com.

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