Focus On: Lists: I Don't Want to Hear It!
A chronic non-responder (CNR) is an individual who has been mailed a succession of times and has not gifted your organization. Mailers feel the effects of these non-responders with respect to the expense of postage, handling, list rental and materials. So how long should you continue to mail to these potential donors? Should you suppress these names? Is it worth the special handling? And just how do you figure it all out?
In identifying and scoring a non-responder, you should go back approximately 12 months, or eight to 12 previous mailings. (Notify your service bureau in advance so it can archive enough mailings to create the non-responder file.) This is called a “build.”
Within each build, the non-responders are marked and then scored. To use the build in your future merges, decide whether you want to score the hits to your chronic non-responder output file or drop them. To keep the build updated, all future merges after the initial build should be included to continue to update and score the chronic non-responder file.
The number of times to mail non-responders depends on several criteria. Research has shown that potential donors are most likely to respond the first three to four times they receive your ask. Beyond that, the chances of them responding become increasingly lower. However, you have paid for these names and you want to get your money’s worth.
Now you have accumulated a group of chronic non-responders —names you’ve already paid for and who, at one time or another, reacted to some type of nonprofit marketing effort. At this point, the CNRs could be dropped or test mailed.
Time to test
In your response analysis, note if you have changed the packaging. As we know, people react differently to different stimuli. Perhaps some of these potential donors failed to respond because of the appearance of the envelope.