Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Oct 27, 2021

Is Mail Still a Viable Origin for Mid/Major Donors?

I have some crazy good news. YES! Direct mail acquisition is still a GREAT source for filling your mid/major donor pipeline.

We recently studied over 20 organizations from three different categories (public media, food banks and missions). We were looking at the relationship between acquiring donors through direct mail over the past 5 years and the percentage of those DM-acquired donors who eventually gave cumulatively $1,000 or more in a year.

Drum roll. . . .

Consistently, about 4% of the DM-acquired donors over the last five years gave more than $1,000 in a year.

That’s huge.

I know the common narrative over the past decade is that direct mail acquisition is expensive and dying. But, like a lot of narratives in our world today, the data doesn’t support it. Contrarily, not only do direct mail-acquired donors have the best retention rates of any channel, but our analysis shows that a lot of direct mail donors you acquire today will be filling your major gift officer’s portfolios tomorrow.

So, if your board of directors is on the fence about the costs of direct mail acquisition, show them this stat. Cutting direct mail acquisition means reducing your future donations.

The State of Data Woes in 2022

When I started analyzing donor databases in the 1990s, the state of donor databases was challenging: Poor data hygiene duplicate records non-standard gift coding undertrained IT staff simple inflexible software Let’s fast forward 25-years. Since the 1990s, nearly...

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Why We Labor

Our company has had a very busy summer analyzing donor databases, making mail plans, and executing selects. And if you are like us, sometimes during the busyness of all that needs to get done in the world of fundraising, we can lose sight of why we do want we do....

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Mentors: Phil Stolberg

As we finish one year and head into the next, I thought it would be appropriate to recognize some of the key mentors I have had that have shaped my career. So, this 4-part series focuses on those who have helped me along. A big thank you to each and every one of them....

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