Mid-Level Donors Respond To Access

Perception of what makes a mid-level donor varies by organization. In the case of WWF, a Partner in Conservation comes in at between $1,000 and $9,999 of its roughly 1 million members in the U.S. and 5 million globally.

How the organization dramatically boosted those numbers was discussed during a session at the a recent fundraising conference in National Harbor, Md.

    There were three goals for the program:

  • Contribute toward the organizational goal to double $1,000+ donors, acquire more new/reinstated partners and increase retention;
  • Develop pipeline strategies for Partner Upgrade prospects and Leadership Partners in the annual giving team portfolio; and,
  • Expand awareness and affinity for the Partners in Conservation/Leadership Partners program, Andrew Wiley, manager of annual giving at WWF, told those in the session room.

The organization hit the mail with a package the emphasized the partnership and between donors and the organization and what the gift could do in a number of areas such as wildlife, forests and oceans. Special privileges and access were key to the pitch.

Donors would be given special access to staff members, invitations to events and an opportunity to speak with the CEO, a copy of the annual report, a magazine and calendar. There were also potential opportunities to be recognized in the annual report.

It worked pretty well. New and reinstated partners went from 1,318 in fiscal year 2016 to 1,632 in Fiscal Year 2017 and 1,828 for Fiscal Year 2018. Touting the privileges of partnership brought in 49 percent more partners from a baseline of 4,942 partners in 2013 to 7,508 for Fiscal Year 2018.