Spinning Date Into Donor Gold
Cautions Whorton: “When you mail re-acquisition appeals to 300,000 households, over and over again, without eliciting a single response, the 101st effort isn’t going to be your silver bullet.”
Less mail, more involvement
After conducting extensive analysis of current donor data, CRS found that the average contributor is 62 years old, female, married and decidedly religious with a fundamental understanding of international issues. Only 29 percent are retired. An unexpected finding, that.
Not surprisingly, though, many donors on the housefile demonstrate a strong predisposition to give seasonally, or just once a year. The objective of data analytics was to pinpoint and track the donors who prefer to receive less mail, as the average contributor who gives a $100-plus gift once or twice a year is targeted 22 times annually.
“Our housefile program is fairly aggressive. We find that when we reduce the number of mailings, we reduce our gross and net revenues,” Whorton shares. “But we also found that two-thirds or even three-fourths of our file are very sensitive to the volume of mail they receive.”
For the most part, these individuals are higher-value donors who don’t require much goosing to get their gifts. Going forward, Whorton plans to leverage supplemental mailings to upgrade and solicit emergency gifts, and when donors hit a plateau in their giving.
New lists, new donors
While the current pool of contributors is invaluable to CRS and its mission, when it came time to find new names, the organization, at first, simply put more pressure on its list broker to cast a wider net.
According to Whorton, speciality Catholic lists have performed satisfactorily for donor-acquisition campaigns, especially when the organization employs enhanced ZIP code models. In addition, CRS uses Church School Finder, a proprietary tool of its current list broker that searches ZIP codes for the presence of Catholic schools and parishes. When a prospective donor’s ZIP code hosts more than one Catholic “center,” CRS is likely to earmark that name as a hot prospect.