Identifying Lists That Work: The Basics
To identify the lists that work, a fundraiser has to first know his or her organization. The donor profile of your database is the best place to start when considering an outside-list acquisition program. External list donors who already have the same demographic and psychographic profile as your housefile donors are more likely to give to your organization over another one. Your donor profile might look something like this:
* Age 55+
* Income $50,000+
* Lives in Georgia
* Likes to knit and enjoys walking
Identifying common characteristics within your donor base can help you look for lists that meet a similar profile and geographic area. This is where a list broker can help. A list broker is a professional who understands the list market and obtains lists for your organization. The broker will work with you to understand your donor profile and help determine what lists to test for a mailing. The broker will prepare a circulation plan that will include the following:
* Name of list.
* Total universe size — the number of names in total that the list contains.
* Universe size to test — this will include geographic parameters, when the donors last gave, and, possibly, segmentation by gender or average donation size (e.g., $50+).
* Description/profile of the list — this describes who this list will target.
* List costs — lists are rented for a one-time mailing or are exchanged. An exchange relationship is where you trade names on one list for another’s.
* Usage — this shows what other mailers use the list, which is extremely helpful information. By analyzing usage, the list broker can identify organizations similar to yours that also mail this list. Some mailers may be your competitors.
The circulation plan will also include a budget to determine how many names you can afford to mail and a prediction of results.