“We’ve used the Internet to do the one-two punch with donors,” Donahue says. “We like to approach [donors] with one form of fundraising solicitation and then follow up with another, whether it’s a direct-mail piece and then the Internet follow up, or telemarketing and then the direct-mail follow up.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America has used this strategy along with targeted messaging that acknowledges donors’ previous gifts in the year to turn one-time gift members into multi-donors and even monthly donors. Monthly donors become Friends of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the ultimate benefit of which is the knowledge that they’re giving in the most cost-effective, reliable way and afford the organization a sustainable resource.
The organization sends a monthly donation ask within the first three weeks from the time a member’s donation is keyed into its database. The message: Our opponents have deep pockets, so we need our most loyal supporters to step up and provide us with a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective means of getting revenue. The initial sustainer ask is followed with a telemarketing ask.
Donahue says asking members to become monthly donors early on has led to a higher conversion rate and a higher average gift in the organization’s monthly giving program.
About six years ago, NARAL Pro-Choice America decided to restructure its major-donor program. According to Kushner, the organization wanted to expand its program to include two tracks: one that would include all of its traditional major-donor outreach such as meetings, personal phone calls, cultivation events, etc.; and another that would encompass high-end, high-touch direct-mail and telemarketing appeals.
The organization established the Justice Blackmun Society, a special classification for major donors — individuals who have given a single gift of $1,000 or more annually — with society members-only benefits such as invitations to and priority seating at special events, invitations to members-only conference call briefings with NARAL Pro-Choice America staff and prominent pro-choice leaders, and special recognition in the annual report.