Raising the Bar for Higher Gifts
StrategicOne identified a campaign theme that would lend itself to a higher ask strategy and make donors feel like they had an increased level of involvement in the mission of the organization.
The campaign would consist of:
1. Announcement Package (monarch size, clear envelope, live-stamp return envelope, one-page letter with reply);
2. Main Appeal (mails 10 days after the Announcement Package, nine-inch-by-12-inch clear outer envelope, four-page letter, confidential seven-page memo, reply, BRE); and
3. Telephone Close (Begins 10 days after main appeal is mailed. Call pushes people to send a gift at the double HPC level. However, if donors say that they can’t give at the doubled level, we allow them to downgrade to what they can afford.).
So, within 30 days you contact your best donors three times around the same campaign.
Initially, people in the organization questioned our goal of an initial response rate of only 2.5 percent per appeal in the campaign. Setting a goal that is 100 percent lower than your standard house-file response rate seems a little counterintuitive, but the upside over the next several months is what makes the math work.
Time would tell for the Judicial Watch donor-upgrade program. The announcement package hit the first week of November and received about a 3 percent response rate. Ten days later the Main Appeal hit, and returns came in again at about a 3 percent response rate. Finally, 10 days after the Main Appeal, the donors’ phones began to ring. (The telephone campaign was conducted by Nick Starvarz and Alisa Getzinger of Synergy Direct.)
Three percent plus 3 percent does not equal a 6 percent response rate in a donor-upgrade program like this. If you segment the right donor targets, the long-term increase in revenue can be exponential.
We were amazed that each of these donors continued giving at the higher level with a subsequent contribution in December, January, February and/or March.