15 Questions to Ask Your Middle Donors

Guest Post by Alia McKee

Note from Bob:  Here is how Alia defines “Middle Donors”:  “They are defined differently based on organizations size. But typically any one who has given between 1k and 10k to an organization cumulatively in a year.

Mark and I frequently advise fundraisers to listen to their donors — through surveys, online focus groups and one-on-one or group interviews.

After we led a webinar with our friends at Network for Good last week, a participant in the event and a smart fundraiser asked us to go a little deeper with our advice. She wrote me,

“I would really like to call up a bunch of our middle donors to thank them and get to know them…but I’m struggling with knowing what are some good questions to ask so they will feel comfortable talking with me. Any suggestions?”

Mark and I frequently talk to middle donors and here are some starter questions you can use. Of course, you can customize them as you see fit.

  • Do you remember how you first learned about [organization]? When was that?
  • When you first heard about [organization], what stood out for you? [Probe] Was there a particular issue or a particular campaign that stands out in your memory?
  • What people do you associate with [organization]?
  • From your perspective, what do you personally like best about [organization]?
  • What do you think has been our finest moment or moments?
  • What are [organization’s] particular strengths?
  • What are the one or two things that really set [organization] apart from other groups?
  • What groups are most like [organization] in what they do?
  • When you tell a friend or acquaintance you support [organization], what do you tell them?
  • Are there certain issues or causes you are especially interested in?
  • When you think about the causes or organizations you support or engage with, what separates them from the ones you choose not to support?
  • What questions do you ask when deciding whether or not to make a substantial gift to an organization?
  • Can you think of a time you were interested in supporting an organization but decided not to because you didn’t like what you learned?
  • Can you think of a situation where you were surprised and delighted by a cause you support?
  • Can you think of a situation when you withdrew your support for an organization you had been supporting? What was the situation?

The answers you get will be illuminating. I promise.

Let us know what other questions you ask.

Alia McKee

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alia McKee is a senior online communications and fundraising strategist @ Sea Change Strategies  with more than ten years “in the trenches” experience developing brand-perfect integrated marketing and fundraising campaigns. Clients have included: National Audubon Society, The Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International USA, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International and the International Rescue Committee among others. Alia is a noted speaker, author and blogger. She earned her masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin and her masters in Social Work at UT Austin as well.

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