Little Dogs ... Big Tricks
Therefore, it is imperative that all of these components are done as well as possible. Again, get some professional help. Your data person can usually help with your mailing list selection, and your copywriter can help with offer development as well as the copy.
It's important to remember that a new donor-acquisition program is not about raising revenue; it's about adding new names to your file that you can cultivate through a consistent donor-renewal program.
In fact, new donor-acquisition efforts almost always result in a net loss. Donor acquisition is all about lifetime donor value.
A scenario that a data analyst I work with likes to present to small nonprofits considering donor acquisition is that a modest effort to gain 1,600 new donors every year will generate a net loss of $10,000 the first year. But continuing these same acquisition efforts, along with the addition of predictable renewal rates, this program will generate a net gain of more than $376,000 by year five. Sounds like a great investment to me. So great, in fact, that you may be able to interest one of your major donors to cover your acquisition costs.
Like most things in life, the key to a successful direct-mail acquisition program is commitment and consistency. Even small nonprofits must make this investment in order to survive. If done well, they will also thrive. FS