Five Steps to Effective EFT
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to launch nearly two dozen monthly sustainer (EFT) programs. Regardless of whether it’s been for an advocacy or charitable organization, a few constants remain.
Far and away, the most critical step is defining an appropriate target universe. Nearly every organization I’ve met with has expressed an interest in taking new or lapsed donors and turning them into EFT givers. Sadly, I’ve never seen this work. However, you can expect to make good donors great — increasing their annual commitment while at the same time extending their lifetime value by as much as 700 percent.
Here are five keys to ensure your success:
1. Determine how much you’re willing to invest in conversion. Often this is dictated by circumstances. Many small groups don’t have the luxury to risk taking their most profitable names out of the routine appeal cycle. But there are plenty of organizations that should consider making an investment now for greater net revenue in the future.
2. Upgrade giving and keep monthly donations low at the same time. Our most common data strategy is to look at annual giving and then look for a 25 percent upgrade. For example, a donor who gives three $15 contributions annually would be asked for $45 x 1.25/12 months, or roughly $5 per month.
There are two key benefits:
* The organization gets virtually guaranteed, predictable cash flow, which can be crucial when there is a national emergency like 9/11 or Katrina.
* Keeping monthly bank or credit card charges low reduces the likelihood that donors will cancel their commitment. Our data shows that the average EFT donor stays active in the program for seven years.
3. Avoid negatively impacting ongoing house file programs. Test adding any language on reply devices, return envelopes, newsletters, etc. If you create separate solicitations, as we do, pull small segments from your existing mail plan in order to avoid jeopardizing big chunks of revenue from any one particular campaign. Our best recommendation is to mail no more than 10 percent of your defined universe at one time.