A Better Mousetrap? New Option for Fundraising Direct-Mail Testing
Here's an interesting development from the world of direct-mail testing for acquisition. The folks at DonorTrends have come up with a process called DonorVoice, which allows organizations to test various elements of their direct-mail packages — without having to actually send out the packages.
The process requires three relatively simple steps on the part of the organization:
- Choose which elements of the package to test: envelope, letter, front- or back-end premium, or any combination thereof. According to press materials on DonorVoice, it's best to test a single element "if you need to nail every detail of it because of its importance or because of all the options being considered. Or choose multiple elements if you need a more global read on which element matters more to overall response."
- Identify which "ingredients" to test: images, message, teaser, size, colors, offers, etc.
- Fill in a grid outlining the options to be tested for each ingredient.
From there, DonorVoice creates package variations to test subsets of all possible combinations, then sends an invitation to an external panel of donors who look like the acquisition target for the campaign, providing those donors with a link where they can view and rate the samples. The donor panel is made up of "double-opt-in survey respondents drawn from a pool of direct-mail-responsive, recent donors with an affinity to your cause."
When the process is complete, the organization gets a straightforward evaluation of results that assigns numerical ratings to each of the variations tested, scoring them against the control. It also has the ability to drill down into the results to see how each variation scored against the control.
The idea behind the process is that by harvesting test results without having to actually mail out test packages, organizations are able to roll out winning packages sooner and more inexpensively than with traditional testing, dedicate more resources to packages that are statistically more likely to perform better, and have more incentive to be innovative since testing is less costly and cumbersome.