5 Keys to Prospecting on a Budget
These anecdotes, while not representative of the overall program, can make a huge impact in making the business case to management for the appropriate investment.
Use data to get smarter
While there is a lot to learn within your own data, it's also important to use outside sources to help build the overall file and identify outside constituents that have an affinity to the organization.
Capturing information about origin lists, channels, interactions and demographics can help you to build predictive analytics around your acquisition program. Models around list rentals, timing, channels, count and recency of non-financial interactions, and demographic makeup can help you make smarter decisions around where to focus your investment.
Ensure that you are focused on the right channels and the right mix
Direct mail continues to be one of the more successful acquisition channels. It takes a little more of an investment than online but typically yields more institutional (as opposed to single-issue) supporters, longer-term support and higher LTV.
That's not to diminish online acquisition, as it yields higher first-time donations as well as higher short-term ROI. The conversion strategies just are different for the online-acquired constituents, as their donation patterns are set more quickly. Immediate sustainer offers seem to show one of the more profitable follow-up offers to convert online-acquired constituents.
There are additional acquisition channels that are more costly with varying degrees of success, including canvassing, telemarketing, DRTV, DR radio, among others. Conducting a marketing mix analysis, using predictive analytics, can help to you understand and maximize the investment in acquisition that is the best fit for your organization.
While there is no magic bullet, there are opportunities for us to learn more about our files, about the industry and best practices, and think in a more innovative way to capture new contributors. We can only do this through better (note: better, not necessarily more) information. Posing the right questions is the best place to start: What is the value of acquisition in the short and long term? How do I measure value? Where do opportunities exist?