Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
There can be technical obstacles as well, such as, “We’re not sure of the source of those donors, so we better not mail to them,” “Those segments are too small to mail to,” or “It’s hard to regularly send acknowledgements — let’s wait until we have enough to qualify for bulk rate versus First Class postage.”
I know these are statements we hear often. But if we’re truly looking out for what’s important in our fundraising programs, as professionals, we first must focus on the value of the golf balls and the pebbles.
And what about the coffee? I’ll get to that later.
One of our clients is a regional child-service nonprofit that helps more than 10,000 children and at-risk families every year through more than 30 service and advocacy programs. When this organization decided that it required additional funding for its annual initiatives, the strategy was to segment the donor file to identify upper-level donors, then ask them for a year-end gift that was dramatically higher than any gift they’d given previously.
The organization always took a conservative approach toward its upper-level donors. But for this special appeal, the development team put aside its preconceived notions about targeting this group and, instead, fully embraced the new strategy. The program also included new creative concepts carefully tailored to this important audience.
The segmentation strategy was to ask current donors, lapsed donors and a segment of donors/volunteers for a minimum gift of $1,000, $2,500 or “other.” The mailing package featured a closed-face outer envelope with the organization logo and an “OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT” notation on a cream-colored, high-quality paper stock. The one-page letter was personalized and thanked the recipient for his past support, and mentioned several times the importance of the donor’s “continued” support and how much it was needed to accomplish the goals the organization had set for the new year.