As a result, CGF increased acquisition mail volume by 73 percent from 140,000 direct mailers in 2009 to 243,000 last year and mailed at different times of the year to avoid the “all eggs in one basket” scenario. CGF also increased the number of renewal mailings from six to seven and increased mail volume by 800 percent. The thinking there was that the increased frequency and volume would keep donors aware of CGF, make sure the organization was hitting donors when they were ready to respond and help CGF reap the harvest of year-end giving. In both acquisition and renewal, CGF incorporated personalization, continual testing and multichannel integration.
The results spoke for themselves:
- More than three times the response rate of the acquisition mailing from the previous year.
- Acquired 680 new donors with a $64.37 average gift — this after reducing the ask string from $50 to $25).
- The strong acquisition results netted a profit of $14,649 for CGF when acquisition is typically an investment with an initial loss.
- Significantly increased the donor base.
- In renewal (using a pillar package with personal stories), donors responded with a 5.28 response rate and $86.53 average gift.
For Lighthouse International, its mature fundraising program was in decline. Due to a combination of inconsistent management of the direct-mail program in previous years, huge expansion in acquisition at great cost in 2005, and then the resulting acquisition program being halted while the renewal program was cut resulted in a dramatic loss of donors. Obviously, Lighthouse International was in desperate need of re-energizing its program.
So, it undertook a strategy based on best practices to do just that. Lighthouse International:
- Increased its number of renewal appeals from six to eight per year.
- Refined audience selections to improve cost efficiencies.
- Added a premium appeal into the renewal series.
- Tested different creative messaging — those new themes and messages generated higher response rates and annual revenue per donor.
- Added a midlevel strategy.
The midlevel strategy was designed to upgrade donors and strengthen loyalty. Thus Lighthouse International created a midlevel donor club called “Beacon Society,” which helped develop a group of donors who generate more gross and net income, and offers major-giving prospects.