The new direct-response program for society members includes personalized direct mail with ask strings based on the donor’s past giving history. The mail takes an insider approach in that it is much more involved and comprehensive, outlining NARAL Pro-Choice America’s political plan and keeping donors informed. For example, in regards to the upcoming mid-term elections, major donors receive a mail piece with information on the political races the organization has on the radar and the kind of work it intends to do. On the back end of the elections, they receive a briefing on the election outcomes, what the organization accomplished and how donors’ money was used.
In addition to restructuring the way it contacts its major donors, Kushner says the organization also has experimented with how often it contacts them.
“When I first came to NARAL Pro-Choice America, going on 11 years ago now, we were mailing our major donors on a quarterly basis and, overall, raising probably less than half of what we raise overall from our major donors today,” she says. “When we developed the direct-response program, we played with mailing as many as once a month to mailing every other month and some combination thereof.
“And so we’re constantly looking for ways to not overwhelm our major donors but also recognizing that, like the lower-dollar contributors, it often takes several mailings, and you don’t always know which one it is that’s going to inspire them to give,” she adds.
On the flip side, NARAL Pro-Choice America sends recent givers versions of direct-mail packages that include all the organization’s inside information minus the ask.
“We make sure to not always mail them asking for money,” says Meghan Kross, associate director of development for direct response. “Sometimes we mail them to show what their money went toward or highlight some of our programs or media coverage, so that every time they open that envelope it’s not going to be asking for money. We have to cultivate them and give them a rest now and then.”