Optimizing the Demise (Part 2)

Optimizing the Demise (Part 2)

Yesterday we posted the first of our five part series on Optimizing the Demise, if you missed it, click here to read.  Today we offer you the second practical idea for how to optimize the decline in your direct mail fundraising program: Stop direct mail testing – at least in acquisition. Look, even if you test something that doubles response (which is rarer than a supermodel on a Metro bus), lifting response rates from a 0.44% to a 0.88% isn’t going to save your organization. Better to redirect the budget and ideas set aside for testing to try new things that might have a longer payoff. This idea won’t change the course of the direct mail trend. But it will buy you some time while we are all figuring out the next big...
Optimizing the Demise (5 part blog series)

Optimizing the Demise (5 part blog series)

Recently we’ve been talking a lot about unsustainable trends, the decline of direct mail and the eventual shift in fundraising that needs to happen because of it. We didnt mean to start the year off by depressing everyone about the future, so, over the next five blog posts we are going to switch from being  “The Bad News Bears” to your “Angels in the Outfield”  in order to make you shine as a fundraiser. Here is the first practical idea we suggest you consider to optimize the decline in your direct mail fundraising program: Start using BREs instead of CREs. Most of us simply don’t have stamps lying around like we use to. And you can bet your donors aren’t going to make a special trip to the Post Office so that they respond to your appeal. One suggestion: only use BREs on donors with SLGs (single largest gifts) of $25 or more. The math of using BREs to the lowest value donors rarely works out. This idea won’t change the course of the direct mail trend. But it will buy you some time while we are all figuring out the next big thing. Click here for Part 2 in the...
Unsustainable Trends III: The Pains of Replenishment

Unsustainable Trends III: The Pains of Replenishment

A few years ago, I had a favorite “go-to” statistic when speaking to clients about acquisition. Savvy fundraisers already know that the full ROI on acquiring new donors cannot be measured by a single campaign or their first year of giving. New donors are the gift that keeps on giving, or, at least one would hope. With acquisition campaign ROI falling to break-even levels or worse, many non-profits have become hesitant to spend much on acquiring new donors. That’s when I would pull out of my favorite stat: “A third of your revenue comes from donors acquired in the last 3 years.” New donors aren’t just a nice bonus to your donor file. They are essential. Whoever thought they would miss the good old of days of 2009? Well, in this instance I do, because my favorite statistic is becoming the victim of our Unsustainable Trends. Follow the trend in the chart below. It was true around 5 years ago that a third of revenue was from recently acquired donors. But, overall decreasing acquisition numbers have a domino effect on the full file. We’re now down to 1 out of 5 dollars. That is a large segment of the typical donor file that is shrinking. Less acquired today = Less to cultivate...