Raising the Bar for Higher Gifts
So, you want your $100 check writers to start writing $200 checks and your $250 folks to give you $500? Well, all you have to do is ask.
Be warned, however, that any time you push to increase the size of a gift you will, more than likely, reduce the response rate of the initial mailing or offer. But the net impact over the next 12 months can be significant and positive.
You see, for every mailing from that point on you can begin building your gift array or ask table based on the highest previous contribution. So if you double or even slightly increase your HPC, you will dramatically increase the cumulative giving for each donor over the next 12 months and, most certainly, over the donor’s lifetime.
If the lowest amount you ask for in future mailings is the upgraded HPC, you will see a dramatic increase in overall revenue because you have raised the benchmark of giving.
In Sept. 2004, our organization, Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C. watchdog organization, decided to target its best donors and encourage them to give more. We reached out to fundraising agency Copland O’Neill and data-analytics company StrategicOne and asked both for some suggestions on how to accomplish the task.
StrategicOne, based in Kansas City, analyzed and identified 35,000 donors on its database who would be most likely to respond to an upgrade campaign. Then Copland O’Neill came up with a three-part campaign designed to encourage these house-file donors to double their HPC.
The ask strategy was a bold attempt to encourage as many people as possible to double their gift amount. Judicial Watch, in a normal house-file appeal to these segments, would see a 5 percent response rate. The goal in the donor-upgrade initiative was set at 2.5 percent per appeal in the campaign.