Special Report: Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
If the investment is greater than the average gift for a particular list, you probably should not continue using that list unless there are other measures that are exceptional, such as a very high percentage of response or average gift. Otherwise, payback simply will take too long.
When choosing lists, select organizations that have missions similar to your own. There are also predictive models you can test — lists that use your housefile data to build a profile of your most attractive prospects.
You also should employ a “package to list strategy.” For example, if you are testing a list of premium-acquired donors, you might want to send that list an address label or some other premium format. Lists that acquire donors without using premiums often work best with mission-driven appeals. Continual testing will help you refine your list planning and arrive at your best mix of lists.
4. Segment your donor file for maximum performance
The traditional way of segmenting a file by RFM is still a must. That means segmenting donors by how recently and frequently they’ve given as well as by the monetary amount.
This technique allows you to vary copy, design, format and offer to suit each individual segment. For example, donors who have given a gift of $100 or more in the past 12 months should be recognized in the
letter and perhaps invited to join a donor club.
Many organizations have midlevel donor clubs and major-donor societies, each with a series of tiered giving levels with different recognition benefits associated with them. Donors who give frequently — say three or more times a year — might be invited to join a monthly donor club.
There’s an old saying that a donor isn’t a donor until he’s made his second gift. The first gift shows interest, but the second gift really indicates commitment. For this reason, we’ll create “prelapsing” strategies, with conversion packages that try to get the donor to make that second gift within a 12-month time frame. LYBUNTS (donors who gave “last year but not this year”) can receive a special message, and lapsed donors who haven’t given in perhaps 24 months or more can receive a customized “win-back” package that says “we miss you, we need you — and we want you back.”