Spinning Date Into Donor Gold
“The technique means that we can go out to a wider range of lists with a greater likelihood of better results on our prospecting,” Whorton asserts.
Starting in 2003, instead of mailing prospecting appeals to Catholics represented on advocacy and magazine-subscription lists, CRS began targeting like-minded individuals on massive compiled files. Many of these prospects simply don’t show up on the Catholic-oriented lists that faith-based mailers have long exhausted. Perhaps they’re not as active as other Catholics; they might go to Mass but might not subscribe to religious publications or show behaviors that are readily accessed with traditional list-brokerage methods.
While trusting its models to filter out the best prospects and using net-name arrangements with list brokers, CRS can now safely mail to a pool of 2.5 million to 3 million potential donors for any given prospecting campaign — instead of previous drops that rounded out at 1.5 million.
“We simply accept that we’ll have a somewhat lower response rate, with the same average gift,” Whorton says, commenting on the nature of compiled lists. “We’re pleased with that because it will allow us to mix up our acquisition program over the year and mail to more new names.”
Working in the “compiled world” requires a strong commitment from the mailer, for mailers are dealing with a variety of files that are virtually indistinguishable from one another, says Douglas J. Newell, founder and president of Genalytics. Many compiled files on the faith-based market have similar universes, giving levels and frequency of updating.
“[CRS] tested a variety of lists in combination with each of our control packages in our first major compiled-list-oriented test and found one winner in conjunction with our more expensive control package,” Newell says. “Fortunately the list has a large universe, but we also have to be concerned with the possibility of list fatigue or ‘cherry picking’ it for the best prospects.”