Direct Mail Dilemma: Re-solicit Existing Donors or Acquire New Donors?

Faced with limited dollars, is it best to hit up existing donors again, or forage for new ones? Like many questions, the answer to this question depends?

In his book, “Revolution in the Mailbox: Your Guide to Successful Direct Mail Fundraising (The Mal Warwick Fundraising Series),” Mal Warwick suggests that a donor should receive at minimum six solicitations per year. Additionally, Warwick’s research shows that few donors are aware of how frequently they are solicited. In the scenario where a nonprofit has sent fewer than six solicitations within the last twelve months, there’s a strong argument in favor of a donor re-solicitation campaign.

What if I can’t afford to mail to my entire donor list? If finances are so tight that it prevents reaching out to the entire audience of donors, then a targeted re-solicitation should be considered. Donor lists can be segmented in a variety of different ways including by monetary amount, frequency and recency. Surprisingly, Warwick’s research shows that recency is the best indicator of likelihood to donate again. If you must reduce the size of your list, try reaching out to donors who have donated recently.

What sort of response rate should I expect? Warwick’s data shows that while donor re-solicitations typically achieve a 6%-12% response rate, donor acquisition campaigns average a response of just 0.5% – 2.5%. These statistics make arguing for an acquisition campaign difficult.

Knowing this, why continue to invest in acquisition campaigns? Acquiring new donors is an investment. In “Revolution in the Mailbox: Your Guide to Successful Direct Mail Fundraising (The Mal Warwick Fundraising Series)
,” Warwick indicates that nonprofits have to expect to lose between 15-50% of their investment in a prospecting campaign which targets new donors. The only reason that direct mail fundraising works, is that someone who does send a first gift is very likely to send another when asked. The key to embracing acquisition campaigns is to understand that the return comes over time, not with the initial gift.



This blog post is courtesy of Blase Ciabaton
www.TheDirectMailMan.com
Please think of Blase as your Direct Mail, Mailing List, and Printing Guru.




One Response to “Direct Mail Dilemma: Re-solicit Existing Donors or Acquire New Donors?”

  1. tom ahern says:

    […] as a … On another topic, I took a workshop for nonprofits that Tom Ahern an in Boston. …Direct Mail Dilemma: Re-solicit Existing Donors or Acquire …Faced with limited dollars, is it best to hit up existing donors again, or forage for new ones? Like […]