30 Ideas for Fundraising Success in 2011 and Beyond, Part 3
[Editor's Note: This is part 3 of a three-part series on the session "Getting Back to Growth: 30 Ideas for Success in 2011 & Beyond" held at the 2011 Washington Nonprofit Conference. View part 1 here and part 2 here.]
21. Test, test, test
- Test low-cost, high-impact techniques.
- Test engagement techniques — array testing, back-end premiums as upgrade incentives, etc.
- Test variable messaging: One type of message may resonate more with certain donors than others.
22. Test, test, test
St. Joseph's Indian School ran a test attaching coupons to the bottom of a letter. The house control had a 10.74 response rate and $20,29 average gift. The test resulted in an 11.95 percent response rate and $22.41 average gift. St. Joseph's then tested super-sized coupons for its acquisition mailing. The acquisition control resulted in a 4.71 percent response rate and $17.12 average gift. The test had a 5.01 percent response rate and $19.76 average gift.
23. Test, test, test
- ALSAC tested stacked premiums — labels plus a notepad — and increased response 40 percent to 50 percent.
- ALSAC also tested calling high-value lapsed donors at 13-plus month. As a result, 50,000 lapsed donors were reactivated with an average gift of $70 at a response rate of 11.2 percent.
24. Cross-market direct mail and planned giving
- The American Heart Association started tracking estate gifts to the direct-mail database, and then marketing planned giving to its direct-mail donors more aggressively.
- In 2002, direct-mail donors were 14 percent of planned-giving estates or 14 percent of planned-giving income.
- In 2010, direct-mail donors made up 40 percent of planned-giving estates or 30 percent of planned-giving income.
25. Use multiple acquisition packages
- The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center uses four packages in acquisition.
- The packages are matched to lists/geography.
- MSKCC mails high-value, high-cost premiums to its weakest prospects and light premiums or not premiums to its best prospects.
26. Invest in technology
New tools and platforms arise all the time. Invest in technology to keep up to date with the resources that can help you raise more funds, as well as to keep up with the tools donors are using in their personal lives.
27. Don't drop the tried-and-true best practices
You should always be on the lookout for new and innovative ideas, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes. Don't abandon the traditional fundraising techniques — like direct mail — in favor of new technologies. It's all about multichannel integration.
28. Thank your donors
Always thank your donors in a timely fashion. If you don't response could suffer.
The point can't be driven home enough. Test everything you possibly can to increase response and donations. You never know what innovation could trigger a jump in response.
30. Remember that you're not the prospect
You and your colleagues are not the prospect audience. Your prospect is most likely:
- more traditional;
- more spiritual/religious; and
- less wired.