Yes, Fundraising via the Phone Is Still Alive!
As someone who works in the marketing intelligence world for nonprofits, I continue to be surprised how many organizations don't use this important channel or — even worse — have used it before and stopped using it. The Agitator articles sums it up nicely with its title — and I'm going one step forward and providing just one of many case studies we, at Eleventy Marketing Group, have seen.
Simply put, folks, don't miss out on this channel. But take my advice on this — this is not a "willy-nilly fundraising channel." It takes the right data science to make it successful. Don't shortcut this step, or telemarketing will not live long for you.
A national children's hospital was using telemarketing to convert one-time gift donors into monthly sustainers. This was a stellar, mature program but had begun to fatigue, and performance degradation was driving up the cost per dollar raised. Eleventy delved into the data to develop a model to make the program more effective and efficient.
Using data from the calling program and attributes from Eleventy's consumer database, 50 different demographic and psychographic variable attributes were overlaid onto the file. A scoring algorithm was then used to determine which attributes to use in a predictive model based on the relative ability to separate records and deliver the desired result.
No one will ever convince me that all donors are alike, and for that reason, generic modeling will not work when it comes to really helping an organization with a challenge. With this particular organization, 12 specific variables were identified as having impact on performance. And, in case you were wondering, no. the variables were not all elements of RFM, and perhaps more importantly, some of the 12 were "external" data that was overlaid to help the program.
The attributes with the strongest performance included education level (with lower education levels performing decidedly better), age (with younger donors converting more readily) and gender combined with "family position," which made up 85 percent of the top deciles. With the decile testing complete, response rate increased by 35 percent and revenue by 24 percent, turning this program into the most efficient channel for sustainer conversion for the organization. The program now provides almost a quarter of the monthly donors who enter into the program each year.
The better news? The model is on its 13th variation after six years, and every version makes telemarketing performance better and better.
The moral of the story is that just using a channel is not enough in today's fundraising environment. You've got to apply your data science the right way for the right channel to be truly successful.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.