The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

There’s More in the Middle: Close Your Giving Gap Now

Big Divide in Giving Trends by Income

A huge “aha” bloomed in my mind as I digested the findings on shifts in giving patterns of rich vs. middle- and lower-income donors recently
released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.*

Mash-up this takeaway with that shared a few months ago (by Sea Change Strategies’ Mark Rovner and Alia McKee) onThe Missing Middle: Neglecting Middle Donors is Costing You Millions and you get a clear call to action for every fundraiser.

Although these two middles are differently defined—the Chronicle’s middle is based on income level, whereas Sea Change’s research highlights middle-level
donors (donors who typically give from between $250 to $900/annually to a single organization)—there’s just one conclusion: There’s more
value in middle donors than we imagined, and its time right now to close the gap by building and nurturing those relationships.

Here’s the data and analysis that will help you close your organization’s giving gap:

Middle-Income Donors Give MORE of Their Income to Charity than the Wealthy Do

The rich are now giving a much smaller share of their income to charities, while middle–income donors give more, as indicated in 2006 to 2012 income tax
data analyzed by the Chronicle:


“Generosity can be measured in many ways, and looking at total dollars donated versus donations in relation to share of income shows how stark the comparisons can be.


The wealthiest Americans—those who earned $200,000 or more—reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012.

Meanwhile,
Americans who earned less than $100,000 (including poor and middle-class families with two working adults) donated 4.5 percent more of their income in 2012 than in 2006.”

But Most Middle Donors Aren’t Cultivated…Enough

The Sea Change findings emphasize how just many organizations are missing out on middle donors (donors that give at the middle-level in this case), and the
potential value that middle donors have for most nonprofit organizations.

Even more startling is the finding that nonprofits that focus on this group—despite its huge potential—are few and far between. More typically, development
staff members specialize in lower dollar direct-marketing fundraising or cultivate high-value major donors. Oof-what about the missing middle?

Here’s your chance to get giving going better than ever before—an opportunity sitting right in front of you! Read this report to get Alia and Mark’s guidance on “8 Habits of Highly Effective Mid-Level Donor Programs.” Then use their 30-day plan to close up your giving gap.

*The Chronicle’s analysis is based on returns filed by those who itemize deductions, including charitable gifts (these gifts are approximately 80%
of total giving).

More here on The Missing Middle

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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