Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

10 ways to make your direct mail results unbeatable …

10 ways to make your direct mail results unbeatable …

… by treating each of your supporters as an individual

How you apply what you know about your supporters – how you use data and targeting – is key to everything you do in fundraising. It will have a greater impact on your response rates, average donation levels and return on investment than any other factor.

So here’s your 10 point targeting check list – nine dos and one don’t:

1. Do finesse your proposition with paragraphs of variable copy that match individual supporters – if they’ve only supported your education programmes in India, leverage India, if Africa, leverage Africa.
2. Do match each donation prompt or financial ‘ask’ to each supporter’s giving history. E.g. a lapsed supporter needs a different message to a supporter who has given recently.
3. Do learn from outside the sector. Retail direct marketing, typified by mail order, targets every customer’s own ‘price point’ – that’s how you can buy mail order lists by value of last purchase, average purchase value or highest purchase etc. At TW CAT we’ve identified over 10 subgroups of supporters who respond better when given personalised prompts.
4. Do match your main financial prompt or ‘ask’ to how much a current supporter has most recently given by using a ‘previous gift plus’ formula to increase average gifts.
5. Do match the main financial prompt or ‘ask’ to how much a lapsed supporter last
gave and ask for exactly the same amount.
6. Do choose whether you use recency, frequency or value as the basis for your
donation prompt. High value supporters typically respond more generously to a prompt related to their highest-ever gift than to one related to their most recent donation.
7. Do acknowledge your supporters’ previous giving history by thanking them for the longevity of their support and the cumulative value of their gifts. To be exact is to be correct.
8. Do use predictive lifetime value – LTV – models to identify supporters who will give the most over time then resource the money.
9. Do use other information you hold about supporters to personalise their individual mailing. Remember the man from the Pru – he always knew your dog’s name, and whether its bark was worse than its bite.
10. Don’t stop testing – always remember that what has worked once won’t necessarily work again.

NB. In head-to-head supporter mailing tests this approach has proven unbeatable.

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