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How to Upgrade General and Mid-Level Donors

Converting general and mid-level donors who have the capacity to give large gifts into major donors is a strategic process that can yield significant results for nonprofits. By inviting these donors to a major donor experience hosted by the nonprofit, organizations can unlock potential and pave the way for larger initial major gifts. This immersive event can not only engage the donors but also cultivates their interest and commitment, leading to a remarkable increases in average gifts.  In 2023 at the events hosted by Westfall Gold clients the current general and mid-level donors who committed made an average gift of $65,497, with 59% making their first major gift of $10,000 or more as referenced in our  2024 Generosity Report.

Understanding Nonprofit Donors

Upgrading donors from general or mid-level to major giving status is a crucial opportunity for the growth and sustainability of nonprofit organizations. This transition is about deepening the engagement and commitment of donors to the cause. When donors upgrade, they demonstrate a higher level of trust and belief in the impact of the work. This deeper investment often leads to long-term support and an increased lifetime giving, which is obviously more valuable than one-time gifts. Furthermore, upgraded donors can become advocates for the nonprofit, leveraging their networks and influence to attract new supporters. By prioritizing the donor upgrade process, nonprofits can build a more robust and reliable funding base, ensuring they have the resources needed to advance their missions effectively.  A recent study by Westfall Gold found that only 11% of the givers in the average file who profiled as having wealth were giving at a major donor level.  The opportunity in this area is substantial.  

Identifying Untapped Potential

Recognizing donors with untapped potential is key in elevating a nonprofit's fundraising efforts. These are individuals already contributing at general or mid-levels but who may be capable of much more with the right engagement. Nonprofits should analyze giving history, involvement in events, and responsiveness to past communications to identify these donors. Signs of a deeper connection or affinity to the cause, such as consistent giving patterns or participation in discussions, can guide personalized outreach efforts. Nurturing these relationships and understanding their motivations allows nonprofits to pinpoint and develop the donors most likely to transition into major contributors.

Major Donor Experience: A Game-Changer

Attending Major Donor Events

Major donor events are transformative for both the nonprofit and the donors. Designed to thank donors for their support and immerse them in the organization's vision and work, these events deepen emotional connections to the cause. Creating an environment that fosters genuine relationship-building and trust sets the stage for an upgrade in donors' giving levels.

The Impact on Donations

Major donor events significantly impacts giving when utilizing the best practices around those events by showcasing the organization's work and outcomes. Donors are more likely to increase their financial commitment and feel a sense of ownership in the nonprofit's success. This often leads to larger individual gifts on occasion a greater frequency of giving. Additionally, these events present an opportunity to articulate future plans and funding needs compellingly, motivating donors to offer proactive support for new initiatives. The resulting boost in donations underscores the importance of experiential engagement in strengthening donor relationships and encouraging increased giving.

Notable Results

In our experience investing in major donor experiences leads to a notable increase in average gift size, reflecting donors' deeper engagement and understanding of the nonprofit's work. This sustained willingness to support at a higher level is crucial for the organization's financial stability. Moreover, post-event analysis reveals a high prevalence of first-time major gifts, demonstrating the effectiveness of strategic engagement in moving donors up the giving ladder. This shift reflects a donor's elevated trust and commitment, laying a foundation for continued or increased support in the future.

Westfall Gold's Innovative Approach

Elevating Fundraising Efforts

Westfall Gold's unique approach elevates fundraising efforts by creating bespoke major donor experiences. Going beyond traditional asks, they tailor immersive experiences to a nonprofit's mission and donor passions. This strategy increases immediate financial support and fosters long-term donor engagement, encouraging donors to see themselves as integral partners in the nonprofit's journey.

Accelerating Donor Relationships

Time is crucial in nonprofit fundraising, and Westfall Gold accelerates donor relationships through meticulously planned events. These experiences catalyze deep connections between nonprofits and donors, leading to a heightened sense of partnership and commitment. This trust-building process establishes a solid foundation for ongoing donor support, essential for long-term success and resilience.

Value for Development Directors

Streamlined Donor Cultivation

Westfall Gold's approach streamlines donor cultivation, allowing Development Directors to foster stronger bonds in less time. Targeted experiences resonate with donors personally, providing a clear understanding of their impact. This efficiency frees up time for strategic planning and relationship management, potentially increasing fundraising capacity and donor retention rates.

Achieving Remarkable Results

The ultimate goal for Development Directors is remarkable fundraising results, which Westfall Gold achieves by aligning donor passions with organizational goals. This sense of shared purpose, fostered through designed events, not only incentivizes major gifts but also promotes sustained giving. The result is a reliable and engaged donor base committed to the nonprofit's long-term vision, often exceeding fundraising targets and making a tangible difference in mission fulfillment.

In conclusion, upgrading general and mid-level donors to major giving status is a mission critical element for nonprofit growth. Major donor experiences play a pivotal role in deepening donor engagement, increasing average gift sizes, and encouraging first-time major gifts. Westfall Gold's innovative approach accelerates donor relationships and streamlines cultivation efforts, achieving remarkable fundraising results and ensuring nonprofits have the resources to advance their missions effectively.