Prospecting in the Upper Deck
I’m a baseball fan and love going to games, but I often find myself in the upper tier (the cheap seats). It’s a desolate place that’s less crowded, and you’ll rarely, if ever, catch a foul ball. But there’s gold in the form of die-hard fans in the upper deck. Just a different sort of gold than you’ll find in the lower levels.
The same can be said of second- and third-tier lists, which can be great resources for organizations seeking new prospects that will prove to be precious alloys. But how does an organization know when it’s time to make the move on to secondary and even tertiary lists?
This was the topic of the session “Desperately Seeking New Prospects,” co-presented by Chris Mayka, director of Atlantic List Company, at the Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C. last month. Mayka says the clearest indicator that it’s time to move to second- and third-tier lists is — plain and simple — when an organization stops meeting its goals.
“Once you’ve met goals and you find that you keep on going back to the same lists, by definition you won’t meet the new goals. You’re not meeting budget. When you start seeing fewer and fewer names come out of the merge before list fatigue sets in, you should start testing outside of the usual suspects,” he says.
Look at who’s renting your list or exchanging lists with you. When you’ve reached the end of primary lists, it might be time to go outside of your market. Look for lists of people who might have a common psychographic with your organization.
Mayka says you might not get quite the response you had before, but the lifetime value of that donor is higher and you have more names to mail to.
“Don’t be dissuaded by the accepted knowledge if you’re a fundraiser then naturally only fundraising lists would work better,” Mayka says. “If you’re in the political arena, so to speak, or you’re an environmental fundraiser, you know, I think you have to start looking at political magazines, whether it’s something like E, the Environmental Magazine or Mother Jones. The beauty of that is you get more names out of your merge.”
Analyzing who is exchanging/renting its list also can help an organization get a better understanding of the donors on it.
“I can’t emphasize the importance as a broker of going to your list manager and looking at that usage, because if you want to define the values of your donors, that’s found in a real pure capitalist science: what they also donate to, what they subscribe to and what they buy, which will be the people who have taken your list. So, you know, the marketplace will define the values of your donors,” he adds.
Chris Mayka can be reached via www.atlanticlist.com