30 Ideas to Enhance Fundraising Direct-Response Creative, Part 3
As fundraisers, you all know the importance of messaging and message delivery. That's what makes creative in all fundraising direct-response appeals so vital.
At the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Fundraising Day in New York last Friday, three fundraising professionals, along with moderator Amy Tripi, president of Tripi Consulting, shared 30 ideas to enhance fundraising direct-response creative. Here are ideas 21-30 from the session "30 Ides in 60 Minutes: Your Hour of Creative Power" shared by presenters Luke Vander Linden, vice president and senior marketing at Carl Bloom Associates; Christine Shilosky, senior account executive at Mal Warwkick/Donordigital; and Lori Burns, senior vice president at Russ Reid. Check out the first 10 ideas here, and ideas 11-20 here.
21. Upgrade your donors to maximize their value
Strategies to employ to help upgrade donors to higher giving levels include:
- Quantifiable stretch asks
- Seasonal giving asks
- Cumulative giving updates
- Higher priced offers/larger asks
- Bundle offers for giving
- Wealth overlay/capacity research to target prospects for more giving
22. Get personal
Donors want to know that you care about them and value the relationships they have with you. So show you know who you donors are. Know when they joined, when they made their first and last gifts, the sources and reasons for their gifts as well as the channels. Then use that information in your communications, and localize your letter with the city and state of the donor. Do the same thing online — personalization is not just for direct mail. It requires a few extra data steps, but it's worth the effort.
23. Utilize big data
The ability to give doesn't always equate to the motivation to give, which is why rental lists tend to work better than wealth or income screening. Just because someone is wealthy or has disposable income does not mean that person is necessarily charitable.
Use data to model your donors by factoring in behavioral, demographics, psychographic and consumer behavior data. It's invaluable information that unveils prospects and donors willing to give or give more.
24. Improve audience selection to target upgrades
Focus on data points such as recency, frequency, monetary information; volunteer participation; gifts-in-kind givers; rapid responders; potential giving capacity; and niches/clusters primed for upgrades.
25. No matter your file size, always test
You hear it time and time again — test, test and test. That's because testing works. You can achieve statistically significant results regardless of the test pool. And tests do not have to be costly. Tweaks to variable laser language, fundraising messages and ask strings are inexpensive but can make a difference.
One note: Smaller files should retest before rolling out new creative.
26. Get interactive … or ask for something else
Asking a donor to do something else besides make a donation can inspire giving. So utilize donor involvement devices such as advocacy actions like honoring a caregiver or loved one, signing a petition, voting, or sending a letter to a representative. The engagement can lead to donations.
27. Improve results through creative design techniques
Try adding an involvement device to an appeal that engages the donor in giving. For example, Best Friends Animal Society included an envelope to send a treat to a furry friend that the donor could sign and return.
28. Test enclosures
Inserts are common in direct-mail fundraising packages, but not always necessary. Resist the temptation to always include inserts. Ask yourself: Is the insert covering its cost, and is it distracting the donor and suppressing response? Of course, you can always test the contents of a package.
29. Report multichannel giving too
Fundraisers can't teach donors how to behave — in an ideal world a donor would use just one channel to make fundraisers' jobs easier in recording which channel spawned the gift. That's not how things work in today's world. Every channel affects every other channel. For example, studies have shown that 50 percent of all online gifts are "online white mail," often spurred by receiving direct mail. And one studied showed that 7 percent to 20 percent of direct-mail response comes through some other channel, such as email. You have to think about how the channels work in concert, not just record through which channel a gift was made.
30. Use data wisely
Donor data is invaluable for creative. Use what you know about your donors in your messaging. Ask yourself what can, what should and what are we doing with data? Make sure your donor database is clean, consolidate marketing data, and become not only data-savvy, but data-creative.