Growing Donor Files: It's Time for a New Approach
Now for the most disturbing — and exciting — part: The nonprofit’s direct-mail acquisition control is a piece that the Traditional Retirees love and the Affluent Professionals don’t like much at all. In other words, we were turning off many younger (40s and 50s), more valuable donors before we even acquired them! The graphic at right helps illustrate the difference in the type of mail the Traditional Retirees like vs. the type that the Affluent Professionals like. And now that we know what the Affluent Professionals look like for this charity, we can grow the file by targeting them with the right messaging across channels and then continue that cultivation from there on.
Using varied messaging and packages in acquisition at the individual level provides huge opportunities for growth — targeting new mail lists and increasing response rates on existing mail lists and co-ops. This deeper understanding of what messaging appeals to whom also enables nonprofits to better target messaging to sources in other channels such as online communities like Care2 and Change.org; direct-response retargeting and, more broadly, display advertising; offline events; and most any other channel. In addition to using this knowledge for acquisition targeting, this large health charity is planning integrated online-offline messaging specifically targeting the Affluent Professionals. More complex? Yes. But also a lot more donor-centric and effective.
Stay tuned — we will be reporting more on the impact of donor clusters. In the meantime, what are you doing to message to different donor groups (perhaps we should first ask what you are doing to identify different donor groups!) in a more donor-centric way? Let us know!
Karin Kirchoff is vice president at MINDset Direct. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeff Regen is general manager of the nonprofit group at Merkle. Reach him at email@example.com