5. Mine your data
"It's very common for fundraisers to be asked to raise more with less," Batcheller said, which is why it's important to use the data you have. She suggested using a philanthropic rating model to better target the prospects most likely to become donors.
The Lincoln Center did this using an outside vendor. It sent its donor file to the vendor and applied a more targeted model to ticket buyers in the hope of decreasing the size of its acquisition mailings to get more bang for its buck.
In September 2008, prior to applying this philanthropic rating model, the Lincoln Center sent its acquisition package to a universe of 110,236. The response rate was 0.23 percent, resulting in a gross revenue of $18,093. When the expenses were factored in ($43,455), the cost to raise a dollar was $2.40.
Then in May 2009, after applying the philanthropic rating model by mining its data, the acquisition package went out to a universe of just 41,969. But since the prospects were better targeted, the response rate was 0.89 percent, resulting in a gross revenue of $25,085 — higher than before. When the expenses were factored in ($19,984), the cost to raise a dollar dipped to just 80 cents. As a result of this change in data strategy, the Lincoln Center was able to reduce costs by 54 percent and still increase revenue.