Stating the obvious
The best example — using the word “renewal.” I often have heard colleagues say that “free” is the most powerful term you can use in marketing. In regards to fundraising, I respectfully disagree. I believe the term “renewal” is the strongest.
Often, the only thing necessary to generate a contribution is some variation of the word “renewal.” Amazingly, I am often surprised to see some renewal packages that do not even use the word on the outside envelope. Check your current renewal series. If any of the packages don’t use this term on the carrier, test it and see if it doesn’t perform better with it than without.
In addition, this word should be used throughout the package. Once I’ve written a renewal letter, I count the number of times I’ve used the word “renewal” or some variation of it within the copy. If it’s less than a dozen, I add more. In addition, make certain that the reply form uses the word liberally. And it doesn’t hurt to even add it to the return envelope, such as a teaser that says, “Expedite … Membership Renewal Enclosed.”
Testing into frequency
Many organizations also do not include enough solicitations within their renewal series. But how many constitutes “enough” varies among organizations. I have one
client that has more than 13 notices within its renewal series, and another with only four. The number of renewal notices in a series should be determined through testing. With a young program, my general rule is that renewal notices should be mailed until the point that diminishing returns fall below the average response rate of appeal packages.
All healthy renewal programs also should include at least one telemarketing effort. If you lack a telemarketing effort in your renewal program, test the inclusion of a call. If you have tested telemarketing and it failed, try another vendor or different placement within your series. Some element of your member/donor file should be responsive to calling.