Focus On: Data Mining: Hope is Not A Strategy
The challenge we face is developing strategies and messages that target younger donors. It’s possible that one database could contain information on three generations of a single family, but the appeals target only the eldest generation. Armed with actionable data, nonprofits can better target donors through more age-appropriate appeals and begin to see immediate improvement in acquisitions and retention rates.
2. Gender of donors: Men are giving just as much as women. So why do many organizations continue to market only to women? The most common answer is that it works. Indeed, it does work, but data suggest that it would work better if organizations targeted donors more effectively through gender-appropriate strategies. Better gender marketing will yield higher response rates and increased retention.
It’s important to note that men and women, on the whole, have different motivations for giving. A woman might give to a health charity to help herself, her spouse or a friend, while a man may respond to help save his wife. There is an important message distinction in that women are concerned with themselves and families, whereas men are less likely to give to a cause that affects them than they are to one that could help their spouses and families.
While the idea of recapturing lapsed donors isn’t new, the approaches, available tools and the strategic thinking are much improved. The most successful nonprofits haven’t waited for things to get better; they already have embraced this new thinking and are developing strategies.
It’s important to remember that your data files are essential tools. The data, by itself, will not give you all of the answers. It simply provides a framework that can help guide intuitive marketing strategies that can be applied to specific areas of need. By examining your data, you can stop hoping and start implementing effective database-driven strategies that will ensure not only the growth of your direct mail program, but also an increase in donors.