2013 Fundraising Stars
Jan L. Buchanan
Integrated Direct Marketing Manager
International Orthodox Christian Charities
In 2012, a relatively simple change in IOCC’s direct-mail newsletters meant a huge jump in revenue for the organization.
According to Mark Hodde, director of partnerships and public relations at IOCC, early testing of several direct-mail packages indicated that envelopes nested in newsletters or other marketing materials weren’t pulling nearly the same rate of response or average gift amount as appeals mailed in No. 10 envelopes inserted with a reply card and No. 9 BRE. The newsletter was being mailed to a housefile of donors who had given within the last 24 months, yet was drawing few repeat donors.
“Jan changed the newsletter package from an eight-page, two-color piece with an envelope nested in the middle and mailed as a flat to a four-page, full-color piece inserted into a No. 10 envelope with a No. 9 BRE and a personalized reply card with personalized suggested gift amounts based on donor history.
“By changing the package,” he says, “Jan reduced the cost of postage, provided a more user-friendly and attractive format that reduced the amount of paper, and further saved costs. The savings in postage and paper we used to increase the frequency from three times per year to four and go from a two-color format to full color.”
As a result, the first newsletter outperformed the results of the entire previous year’s three newsletters, Hodde says. In 2011, the newsletter mailings grossed $53,282 through 570 gifts with an average gift size of $93.48. The newsletter drew an average of 1.09 gifts per donor.
In 2012, after making the changes to the package, the newsletters grossed $338,487 with an average gift of $113.43 — a 21 percent increase in the size of the average gift. Donors increased the frequency of their giving to an average of 1.25 gifts per donor, and the total number of gifts from the mailings more than quadrupled.
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