Case Study: Building a Donor Base Through E-mail, Part 2
As a result of these e-mail initiatives, the Colson Center rapidly grew its e-mail program and donor base. With the help of KMA, the ministry was able to:
- generate an e-mail response rate that is 513 percent better than the 2011 Convio Nonprofit Industry Benchmark E-Appeal Response Rate;
- increase e-mail revenue by 44.8 percent for the Colson Center;
- increase revenue by 426 percent of products by placing them as premiums as opposed to stand-alone products at a fixed price; and
- grow the monthly giving program — more than 10 percent of all Colson Center donors are sustaining or recurring donors.
Key to that success was the collaborative relationship between the organization and the agency, Kachuriak says.
"[The folks at the Colson Center] had a will and a desire to never be satisfied with adequacy because they recognized that adequacy is the enemy of excellence," he explains. "They gave us the freedom and liberty to test and to continue to optimize their program through experimentation.
"If there's one thing that I think nonprofits lack, it's the will and desire to take measurable risks. Taking risks is really what leads to some of the greatest advancements in the world of fundraising, but also the greatest opportunities for nonprofits to rise about just the ho-hum industry benchmarks," Kachuriak adds.
Kachuriak says there are two key takeaways that were unearthed from this partnership:
- Testing trumps marketing intuition. "One of the things I'm constantly surprised at … is that when we test things, we find out that best practices aren't best practices at all. That's what's exciting — to redefine those things by seeing how people interact with our communications," he says. "That's really what's so fun about the online side of things. WE have so much data, so many different attributes that we can test and we can learn not from focus groups or a survey but by watching how people interact directly with the conversion path that we've put before them."
- Humility is the key to marketing success. "If I think that I have all the answers, then that's usually when I find out that I'm dead wrong," Kachuriak says. "We try to empower clients to think like that as well. It's when we're partners and not a vendor and a nonprofit where we can both have the most success."