The project of acquiring, retaining and satisfying donors is a never-ending one, and Bryan Evangelista of Lautman Maska Neill & Company offered five big takeaways from the recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Nonprofit Federation Conference:
- Study the control packages of the continuation lists mailed in acquisition. This will show to what the prospective donors have been responding.
- Every organization probably has an appeal that performs well year-after-year. One organization boosted those results by reminding donors who had responded previously to that appeal that they had done so.
- When conducting tests in direct mail, response rate and average gift tend to have an inverse relationship. If a test improves response rate, many times average gift declines. This inverse relationship can also apply to email open rates and click through rates.
- Lately, mid-afternoon (1-3 p.m.) seems to be a better time to send emails to get people to take action, while late-afternoon (3-5 p.m.) works best to improve open rates. Also, with a three-hour difference across the continental U.S., word within the industry is that the safest bet for national organizations is to work off the Central Time Zone.
- Communicate with people who sign up to participate online. As part of a recent study, e-signups for 150 different organizations were monitored and analyzed. Some 37 percent of the organizations sent nothing within the first 30 days of sign-up, and 88 percent had no welcome series at all.