Fundamentals of Donor Retention
Since it was implemented, donor retention has risen 16 percent.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders’ renewal program uses direct mail, e-mail and telemarketing throughout the year — 12 issue-focused direct-mail messages go out annually, up to 15 e-mail solicitations per year and approximately two phone calls per year, Clayton said.
Every month, 12- to 13-month and 24- to 25-month lapsed donors receive an invoice-like package. Doctors Without Borders tested an anniversary message against the issue-focused renewal that the 0- to 12-month donors receive in the same month. In both cases, the donor-confirmation anniversary package won, suggesting that there is room for more anniversary messages in the renewal program — something Doctors Without Borders plans to test more than once to make sure it’s seeing a real trend.
Through testing, Doctors Without Borders concluded that package refinements may improve overall net while the message keeps donors engaged, testing things like package size, postage treatment and bulk orders/gang printing. Clayton noted that Doctors Without Borders will save more than $75,000 on the renewal package alone in 2011 thanks to testing a new format and taking advantage of gang-printing savings.
CARE was starting to see its high-value donor file shrink in 2009. From 2008 to 2009, the $500-plus donor file decreased by 17 percent and $500-plus donor revenue decreased by 20 percent. And it continued to decline in 2010.
“That [set off] a few alarm bells,” Jones said. “How do we keep them engaged?”
So CARE took a look at its midlevel donors to find ways to retain them and cultivate them for the highest lifetime value. What it found was that of all midlevel donors, mail-responsive donors contributed 67 percent of total revenue, and while the average gift of non-mail donors was three times more, direct-mail donors gave six times more throughout the year.