Direct-response fundraising is the perfect playground. It's a blending of both art (something I highly value but readily admit to having no proclivity for) and science (Data! Testing! Measurability!). Direct response feeds both sides of the brain and provides continual opportunities for thinking outside of the box while allowing us to control the amount of risk.
The mid-level program at Catholic Relief Services, a large, international-relief organization, was several years old, yet not strategically directed — nor was it meeting projected goals. In working with the organization, at MINDset Direct we recognized the need to re-engineer the existing mid-level donor program and began working to develop high-value donor strategies appropriate for the program. What we uncovered were four major areas of opportunity within the program that needed to be addressed: appropriate audience selection; a balancing of the mixture of solicitation and cultivation efforts, including the creation of efforts targeted specifically for the mid-level audiences; the standardization of donor migration;
In most mid-size to large nonprofit organizations, there are two distinct areas from which revenue is generated from individual donors. The names vary: Membership hands off to development; direct marketing supports major gifts; marketing feeds donors to advancement. In each situation, one group is dedicated to generating broad-based support via a bevy of direct-response techniques. Another very separate group raises large or major gifts utilizing relationship-based techniques. The impact of this structure is, in most cases, a siloed system that doesn’t make it easy for staff to transition donors — and a jarring experience for the donors themselves.