Identifying Lists That Work: The Basics
Mail dates also need to be cleared since some competing organizations do not wish to drop their mail on the same day. This practice is becoming slightly outdated because many list owners do not grant mail-date protection; however, it’s important to clear the dates to be sure.
Once the list is approved, the broker will take care of ordering the list and ensuring the mail house receives it. The mail house will source-code the lists by the codes you apply. This will be important for analysis so you can tell each list apart and decide whether to continue mailing a list.
Once the lists are received and coded by the mail house, they’re run through a process known as merge/purge. The merge/purge process will eliminate duplications within lists (intradupes) and between lists (interdupes), provide postal correction for deliverability, run the National Change of Address process, run suppressions and screens, and purge against the house database since you do not wish to mail current donors.
The list broker will get a comprehensive report of how well the merge did, which can help the list broker identify the following:
* How many names fall off a list (can be helpful in negotiating list prices with the managers and owners).
* Duplication percentage by each list to the house list (can help identify what outside lists are similar to the housefile and may work well for your organization).
* What lists need to be updated more often (good feedback for list owners).
* Demographic data such as percent of male/female and geographic data (helpful in learning what areas of the United States respond best to your offer).
Determine what works
After the mailing drops, it takes an average of six to eight weeks to read results from the list acquisition. The results that should be gathered include:
* Total number of donors that responded to the mailing by list (the response rate).
* Donation amount calculated into an average donation by list.
* Cost per dollar raised (calculation of mailing costs and overall profitability).