Mid-level donor programs like affinity groups are designed to encourage annual fund donors to join the next level of giving. With increased awareness and exposure to needs of the organization, many of these mid-level donors are inclined to give additional funding outside of their membership commitment. For this moves management strategy to be more effective, three strategic plans must be in place:
A stewardship plan that details the processes and strategies that will keep your program's members engaged and communicate their impact on the organization. This plan includes member thank-you's, progress updates on how funds are being used, and an impact report.
A communications plan that serves as a program guide for consistent messaging and frequent touchpoints. One touchpoint per month is recommended. Communications include member meetings, newsletters from the organization, birthday and/or holiday cards, social media features, and more. Each touchpoint serves as a reminder to donors that they are "top of mind" to the organization, and in return, the organization stays "top of mind" with the donor.
A cultivation plan details the guidelines for ensuring moves management strategies are in place within the affinity program. With effective stewardship, communications, and cultivation, mid-level donors can advance to major gift prospects. This is why multi-year commitments to affinity programs are so important because one year isn't long enough to "move the needle" with a donor in this group-like setting. An example of a cultivation strategy would be: "After 18 months of membership, the first discovery visit will be scheduled to meet with the donor and explore areas of interest within the organization based on membership experience and exposure so far."
It has been my personal experience that roughly 25% of members will give additional funding to the organization beyond their membership commitment. Examples include an extra $100 to support a program and a $1M endowed gift. It is from this 25% group that you can expect to see major gift prospects arise. All three of these strategic plans deepen donor affinity and encourage donor support of the organization beyond affinity group membership.