Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
The letters were all “hand signed,” and many had personal notes written to the recipients. The reply device was a simple, cream-colored card, again with “OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT” noted, the offer restated and the final line, “Please be as generous as possible.”
Following is the outcome of this targeted, high-quality, special ask strategy:
Quantity mailed: 1,001 letters
Returns: 206 (20.58%)
Gross revenue: $225,838
Net income: $223,467
(ROI - $95.27)
This organization embraced a new strategic approach that had the potential to achieve breakthrough results. And it succeeded because it eliminated the obstacles that prevented it from reaching this level of success in the past.
Test, test, test
Another golf ball in a fundraiser’s jar is commitment to ongoing testing. In 2004, the L.W. Robbins food-bank team persuaded seven of our food-bank clients to test a new format for their traditional Thanksgiving appeals. The new package would allow for greater personalization and offer enough real estate for a compelling story. The test would run against a successful control that had a history of making money in acquisition, but we had to invest in additional testing to see if we could beat the control.
The results were so strong across all seven food banks that we rolled out the new format in 2005. There was a 36.7 percent lift in response and a 4.8 percent lift in average gift. The cost per dollar raised was reduced by 25 percent.
In addition to these spectacular overall results, one of the food banks received a $10,000 gift in acquisition and a bequest from an acquisition donor of $1 million.
Breakthroughs like these were achieved by development professionals who paid attention to the critical things in their fundraising lives and who didn’t let the small stuff get in the way. Their strategies were driven by their golf balls and pebbles, and they increased their donor involvement and reached new fundraising goals.