Focus On: Lists: Digging For Donors
Take a look at the lists that work well for you. What kind of recency are you using? If six-month names are profitable, have you tested seven- to 12-month, $5-plus names? If 12-month, $5-plus names are profitable, have you tested 13- to 18-month, $10-plus names? Mailing to older names with stepped-up donation amounts is a strategy that works.
Do you wish you could do something to make your mediocre lists perform better? Maybe that would enable you to use more names? If you’re raising funds for a health, social, welfare or animal cause, have you tried the female market? Women generally perform better than men for these kinds of causes.
Expand your horizons.
Don’t be shortsighted. Your best donors might not be who you think they are. Analyze trends and list performance over the long haul.
In acquisition mailings, donor lists tend to be the best performers. However, donors that were sourced from non-donor lists might be the real winners when you measure lifetime value. Track new-donor response down to the list level for at least two years.
Results from acquisition mailings tell only part of the story. For example, donors sourced from automobile club, retirement newsletter and public television lists come in with very solid long-term numbers.
In today’s mail environment, it’s important to be innovative and try to think of as many ideas as possible. Each tiny incremental success cumulatively makes for a large success. Keep the channels of communication flowing in all directions. Learn from what others are doing, and let them learn from you.
Martin A.Stein is president and CEO of RMI Direct Marketing Inc., a list brokerage and management firm that specializes in direct mail donor development. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.