20 Direct-Marketing Ideas for Small Nonprofits, Part 3
There are many strategies smaller nonprofits can employ to get results that mirror or even top those of the big players in the sector. In their session, "20 Big Direct Marketing Ideas for Small Nonprofits," at the 2012 Washington Nonprofit Conference, Eliza Temeles, senior account executive at MKDM; Jill Batcheller, membership manager at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; and Alicia Toles, annual giving and donor data manager at Food and Friends, shared 20 direct-response fundraising strategies tailored to smaller organizations. Here are ideas 11-15.
11. Test timing because timing is everything
Don't accept standard recommendations on timing, Batcheller said. Figure out what works best for your donors. For instance, the standard timing recommendation for sending e-mails is Tuesday and Wednesday, according to industry best practices. However, through testing the Lincoln Center found that its donors respond to e-mails the best on Thursday and Friday. In fall 2011, e-mails sent based on standard timing recommendations had a 1.88 percent response rate, while e-mails sent on Thursday and Friday during that same period had a 6.02 percent response rate for the organization.
12. Don't underestimate reinstatement
"Lots of organizations have set limits on how deeply they're willing to mail," Batcheller said. "Challenge that. Mail deeply into your lapsed donor file."
In June 2011, Lincoln Center experimented with a reinstatement mailing to lapsed donors, going as deep as 20 years lapsed. It was a way to offset budget cuts, and in order to try and re-engage these deeply lapsed donors, the center focused on its most popular benefit — open rehearsals. The offer included $150 worth of benefits with a $75 reintroduction gift.
As a result, the Lincoln Center recaptured 281 lapsed donors with a 1.41 percent overall response rate, and for donors who were lapsed for 10-20 years, the response rate was 0.69 percent. That helped boost Lincoln Center's revenue, and Batcheller said the organization will continue to mail this deeply lapsed file for as long as it produces.