5 Tips for Improving Your Acquisition Program
Recent discussions we’ve had with clients, prospects and colleagues have centered around launching or re-energizing acquisition programs. Here’s a list of tips you can use to make your acquisition program more successful as you continue planning for the year ahead.
1. Aggressively test list categories and lists.
Work with your agency and list broker to audit your current list universes, then create a testing plan for list markets that might have been successful but are not fully tapped into.
Explore new categories: Direct response-acquired donor lists work best, but also test subscriber lists, catalog buyer lists and specialized compiled lists.
Analyze the list-usage patterns of other organizations in your sector. Lists used frequently by two or more of these groups within the past year could perform well for you too.
2. Create “mission-premium” offers to boost response.
Premium offers can be effective at bringing in new donors. “Mission-premium” offers, which give donors a tangible impression of your mission values and programs, can be even more effective.
Brainstorm on ways you can integrate your mission message into a premium. One international relief organization created a test package featuring a wall-sized world map as an upfront premium, along with a strong mission and education focus. The map, with its big visual impact, related directly to the relief organization’s work worldwide and highlighted the geographical diversity of its programs. Also, because of its high perceived value, people would hang onto it as a reference, or even hang it up in their home or workplace to spread awareness. This test package increased response 42 percent over the control and improved the average gift, and is now the new control.
3. Avoid the premium vs. non-premium disconnect.
If people join your organization through premium packages, then your renewal program will need to replicate these offers in order to retain more of these donors. Many donors will continue giving based on the merits of your mission and individual cases for giving. However, others will need the extra boost of an occasional premium offer to trigger their renewal gifts. So make sure you have a balance of both premium and non-premium offers in your annual renewal cycle.
4. Multi-channel campaigns boost response.
Building brand awareness via other media channels primes your audience for your direct-response communications. Use public relations, such as print and online press coverage of your news and events, to get the word out about your cause. If your budget allows, use advertising, including radio, online and print media to reach target audiences.
5. Welcome new donors into your family.
You have a critical window of opportunity to turn new donors into loyal and generous long-term supporters. Start by thanking them promptly for their initial gift, with a personalized acknowledgement that also references their gift amount. Follow up with a welcome package that explains your mission and goals, and recognizes the donor as a new, much appreciated member of your family.
These touch points make the donor feel good about their gift and your organization, and eliminate any “post-purchase” anxiety they may be feeling. Turnaround times on gift acknowledgements are critical. Strive to send out your thank-you letter within three to four business days after receiving a gift.
If you have any questions about these tips or have some other acquisition ideas you’d like to share with your fellow fundraisers, please provide your comments below!
Lynn Edmonds is president of Robbins Associates, a full-service direct-marketing agency that serves nonprofit organizations exclusively. You can contact her directly at 800.229.5972 or email@example.com