First thing to understand is that your appeal is not about your organization. I’m going to leave you hanging on this for just a bit.
Purpose = Pipeline Don’t let anyone tell you that a $25 donor is not important. The most loyal $25 donor is a planned giving prospect. And those at higher levels feed your major gifts pipeline. TimingHow often an org solicits is up to the org. Once a year, twice a year, four or more times a year. Communications vehiclesDirect mail, phone, email, web…. Social media, texting, mobile giving, etc.
Back to this. OutcomesRevenue, learn who your donors are and what interests them (ask them one or two other questions on the reply device, test your messages) It’s not about your organization. It’s a conversation between you and your donors. It’s about how your donors’ interests align with your organization’s goal and how the donor can help achieve those goals. For example, at Dominican, it’s not about raising money for scholarships. It’s about our alumni making student scholarships possible. At a social service agency, it’s not about how many people you treat with cancer. It’s about how the donor’s gift makes this happen. When I write fundraising materials, we don’t do anything on our own. Our donors make the difference. First rule to make your appeal more appealing. Make it about the donor. Make it as personalized as possible. You do this by first knowing who your audience is.
Their relationship with youAlumni, parents, friends, neighbors, recipients of a service, share a special interest like the arts, etc. How do they communicate with you? DemographicsAre they male or female?How old are they? What generation do they belong to? What kind of donor are theyLybunt, sybunt, nondonor or never giver?Level of giving. Direct mail or major gift? Knowing this information leads to solid segmentation.
Segmenting by generationThe other items are important, and I’ll touch on those a bit throughout, but I wanted to take a closer look at segmenting by generation, because that is more universal to all of our work. There have been a number of recent studies and articles done on generations. Who they are, what they expect, how to speak to them, etc. Knowing this gives you a head start on knowing what will be most appealing to them. Emotional vs logicalLong, story oriented vs short, bulletsFreemiumvs no freemium Excellent white paper. Google: The Next Generation of American GivingBy Convio, March 2010http://www.edgeresearch.com/Edge%20Research%20Case%20Study%20-%20Next-Gen-Whitepaper.pdf
Let’s take a look at what we currently do in terms of segmentation. First segmentation is by school Then looking at matures into boomers (I’ve taken some liberties with marketing standards with some of these groups, but it works for us), as we transition to boomers, we became co-ed. So, messaging for matures is to an older, all female audience who went to Rosary College. The Sisters who founded the college were the biggest influencers in these students’ lives. Boomers – a great fundraising generation like our matures, went to a co-ed institution, but I know that our Dominican Sisters were still the biggest influencers. Gen X – a difficult generation to fundraise from. Tail end of this group graduated from Dominican University. Gen Y – our GOLD alums, again difficult fundraising, knows a very different Dominican – school practically doubled in size during this time. A new residence hall was built plus a parking garage and new science building. And, another campus was acquired. Graduate Schools – we haven’t done too much from them yet, but this year we are piloting annual funds in two of the schools. Then, all are further segmented by lybunt, sybunt, and nondonor. Letters would then thank a lybunt for their gift last year and ask for an increase, sybunts are asked for a range based on their past giving, and non-donors are asked for a range based on segment, school, and this year I was able to use some wealth screening data to guide these asks a bit better.
In this instance we tested a letter versus a brochure. You can test so many different areas, but sure to keep your tests to one area at a time. For example: An envelope with teaser copy on the front and an envelope without it. If you test this, you cannot test messaging inside the body of the letter. Other testing ideas: Length of letter Signatory on the letter Include a brochure or not Color of your envelope Messaging Free gift enclosed or no free gift – this is a tricky one. Studies show that you get a better initial response rate, but those donors are more difficult to retain. A freemium that I’ve used in the past is a packet of seeds. Building on the theme of growing, nourishing, etc. They are inexpensive, you can get your logo and mission printed on them, and they make for an interesting “lumpy bumpy” envelope. Ask amounts – but please have one!Testing is the only way that you will truly learn about your donors and their reactions. You can ask others for ideas, read tons and tons of articles on why you should include mailing labels, etc., but you will only really know what direction to go in because you’ve done a test and measured its results. I’ll get into measuring results in just a few slides.
Customized using variable data printing
Considerations / RecommendationsTiming Fall/Spring/Summer seems to be my best formula, given that our fiscal year ends on June 30. Dom used to send four pieces during the year, but since we cut that down, we didn’t see a difference. Consider costs, lybunts/sybunts/nondonors. Since we want to purchase some software this year, we knew we needed to cut down on direct mail costs. Therefore, we’re sending more in-house mailings using student worker help (you might consider volunteers), and, we’re not mailing as much to our non-donors. Fall should be your best results since this is a big time of year to give, but your mission and history may dictate something else. Length of letter (just a letter?) Do you need to include a brochure? ; Longer the letter the older the audience (explain boomer/mature, Gen X, Gen Y) Include stories and pictures with captions when you can Make the entire theme about the donor and how they made/make all of this possible Thank them for their past giving Ask for something specific. $25? A range? Style Conversational! Nothing formal. Use shorter sentences and paragraphs. Make it an easy read that appeals to emotions. A few facts/figures are good, but most people (especially women) are prompted to give for emotional reasonsPersonalize. Dear Name. Never Dear Friend.SignatoryYour executive director may be well-known. Recipient of the work you do – this can be very compelling, especially if they are willing to share personal history, etc. and translate that into a thank you to the donor. Packaging / envelope #10 or something larger Does it look like everything else in the mail or does it stand out? Teaser or no teaser, picture or no picture? Reply mechanism MUST be included. Attached to the letter, detached from the letter, pre-filled out with donor info, perhaps even their last gift Ask a couple more questions. Would you like to receive our newsletter? Would you like to learn more about volunteer opportunities? BRE or no BRE? Postage Stamps have better open rates, but do your homework on what you can afford The idea is to always have it look as personal as possible. If you are doing a very small, targeted mailing, hand-written addressing will get opened firstNumber of communications each year Again, 2, 3, or 4? Free gift? Again, freemiums tend to do better in the short run, not in the long run. However, if you decide to send a magnet with important event dates, etc., this may help in other areas of your organization.#1 goal = make it easy to give If you don’t do anything else, do make it easy to give. Have a reply card and envelope at the ready.
Considerations / RecommendationsTimingWe like to make our phone calls right after a direct mail has hit their mail boxes. The mail makes your phone call more legitimate. Where are you calling from? In other words, what does your Caller ID say? We have had less pick up since our called ID was changed from “Illinois Call” to “Dominican University” Script Short, conversational, gather other info Update contact information – get email addresses! Ask for the same thing as you asked for in direct mail. If they don’t want to give $50, ask for a smaller amount or ask if they feel comfortable giving a different amount. Who’s calling Students, staff, volunteers? Pledge cards Get them in the mail immediately with a thank you for giving their time Even if they said no or didn’t give an amount, send a thank you with a blank pledgeNumber of calls before you leave a message We sometimes go up to 10 tens tries before leaving a message, depending on the donor type and time of year Make sure your message clearly states how they can give. “We’re putting something in the mail to you today” or you can give online at…”There are a number of considerations when venturing into telethons, so don’t just jump right in. You will need to have a fairly detailed coding system in place so that you know who you called, what info needs to change, and especially who has requested to no longer receive phone calls from you.
Considerations / RecommendationsTiming Hits their inboxes and mailboxes at the SAME TIME Can also be good economical reminders at different times each year. We send several messages out in December and June in addition to post direct mail. We’re adding in a couple more emails around anniversary giving and a phonathon, “sorry we missed you” email, but that’s all we do in term of direct solicitation. The Alumni Office sends out monthly or so newsletters that are more about events and such, but it always has a give button. Who is it from? This is a good thing to test. Studies used to say that if it comes from a person, it will have a better open rate. Now, some are saying that it should come from the organization name. I tend to side with the organization name because I don’t know the ED at March of Dimes and if I would see that name in my inbox with 100 other messages, I would skip right past it. Subject line Keep it short, avoid punctuation, make it relevant to the donor, make it a call to action (ex Endorse Your Rosary College Education)Length No scrolling! Send test to different kinds of emails – yahoo, hotmail, outlook, gmailStyle Conversational, bullets Just a few other links, perhaps to join you on facebook, but keep it simpleReply mechanism Easy to find make a gift button Include address and phone number somewhere in case they prefer to mail in check or give a callNumber of communications each yearAbove all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Considerations / RecommendationsContent Relevant, timely, current Should change often – helps donors want to come back Donor stories, testimonials, video if possible, pictures are a must Demonstrate impact of giving through mission stories, videos Is it mobile friendly? Make a gift button – on every page (no more than TWO clicks away)Online giving page Easy to navigate, secure, easy to useAbove all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Considerations / RecommendationsOther publications Your newsletter, your magazine Include envelopes Include same look and messaging as your appealSocial mediaFacebook for stewardship Still working on fundraising Have donors post that they gaveMobile The younger the audience, the more likely that they are viewing your email from their smartphone. What does your email look like? Text to give Changing each year. Was $5 or $10. Great for reliefs orgs when there is a crisis. However, you don’t get the donor’s info – doesn’t help in long run. Explain DePaul’s campaign.
Recalling the segments we chose, we created appeals and package codes using Raiser’s Edge to code all of our data. I wanted to know how a Mature Lybunt responded to the letter versus the brochure or how a Gen Y Non Donor responded to that same test.
There are a couple different approaches to consider with pulling and manipulating your data. Last year, I did the slicing and dicing within Raiser’s Edge and we added the appeal codes. This year, we pulled out all of our data into Excel, manually sorted it by school and donor type, and then sent it back to Advancement Services for appeal coding. I’m still not sure what works best, but I’m leaning toward the manual sort, because it’s fast, easy, and I can see what I’m doing. You can always run spot checks in your system to see if someone was missed. The other benefit about appeal coding is that come spring, or whenever you need to run your data again, you already have your donor pool coded and can easily pull on that appeal code to get your lists ready to go. Again, we use Raiser’s Edge, but other systems should work this way, too. This chart shows the coding for direct mail – it was more complicated because of the test, but this is the nature of a test. It really does help behind the scenes and for reporting out. In terms of phonathon, we coded by school, generation, and donor type, but this was easier since there wasn’t a test to be coded. Walk through chart – worked closely with our Advancement Services team This year, we’ve taken this a step further and included the ask amount in addition to the appeal & package coding. This way, phonathon knows what direct mail ask them for and we can be consistent.
Overall, the letter out-performed our brochure. I think for a few reasons. The letter is what (at least) our older donors were used to getting. And, the letter made an actual ask for a gift and suggested an amount. The brochure, while we personalized the name and selected text for the inside based generation, we did not choose photography to resonate with each generation. Alums take great pride in the beauty of our campus. Perhaps something more traditional would have appealed to our older donors who went to Rosary College. Overall, results were slightly up, but nothing significant. Went back to letters only in FY11.
While direct mail and online giving are up, phonathon is down. Annual Giving often requires reinvention. Phonathon is down because our pick up rates are down. Will try more emails to non-pick ups.
Making your annual appeal appealing
Making your annual appeal appealingA look at annual giving best practices
IntroductionsAmy Kaczmarek, Director of Annual Giving ProgramsDominican UniversityFundraising notables:• Grassroots• Small shop• Mid-size, higher ed
What is an annual appeal?• Purpose• Timing• Communication vehicles• Outcomes
Your appeal is not about your organization. It’s about your donors.
5-Step Approach to Annual Appeals1. Identify your audience (market)2. Segment your lists3. Test something – ANYTHING!4. Strengthen Marketing Mix5. Measure your results
Identify your audienceWho is your audience?Better yet, who are your audiences?• Their relationship with you• Demographics• Donor type
Generational Fundraising• Segmenting by generations is the hot topic• Excellent white paper: The Next Generation of American Giving
Segment your lists Rosary College Matures Boomers Gen X Gen Y Cls of 1930-1967 Cls of 1968-1986 Cls of 1987-2000 Cls of 2001-2010Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Graduate Schools Brennan School of Library & Info Education Social Work Business Science Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr
Strengthen Marketing MixMain channels• Direct Mail• Phone / Telethon• Email• Web• Other publicationsUp and coming channels• Social media• Mobile• Text to give
Marketing Mix – Direct MailConsiderations / Recommendations• Timing• Length of letter (just a letter?)• Style of letter• Signatory• Packaging / envelope• Reply mechanism• Postage• Number of communications each year• Free gift?• Above all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Marketing Mix – PhoneConsiderations / Recommendations• Timing• Where are you calling from?• Script• Who’s calling• Pledge cards• Number of calls before you leave a message• Above all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Marketing Mix – E-mailConsiderations / Recommendations• Timing• Who is it from?• Subject line• Length• Style• Reply mechanism• Number of communications each year• Above all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Marketing Mix – WebConsiderations / Recommendations• Content• Make a gift button• Online giving page• Above all else: Make an ask AND make it easy to give
Marketing Mix – Other channelsConsiderations / Recommendations• Other publications• Social media• Mobile• Text to give
Measuring Results• How each segment and donor type responded, and to what type of appeal• Coded replies with appeals and packages
Appeal Graduate Schools Brennan School of Library & Info Education Social Work Business ScienceLybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Package Rosary College Matures Boomers Gen X Gen Y Cls of 1930-1967 Cls of 1968-1986 Cls of 1987-2000 Cls of 2001-2010 Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr Lybunt Sybunt NonDnr
Appeal & Package ChartAppeal ID Description Notes Identifiers #Solicited Packages1Brochure 1B Fall FY11 DM GEN Y 1=RCAS GEN Y 1BL, 1BS, 1BN 2,359 L-S-N2Brochure 2B Fall FY11 DM Gen X 2=RCAS Gen X 2BL, 2BS, 2BN 868 L-S-N3Brochure 3B Fall FY11 DM BOOM 3=RCAS Boomers 3BL, 3BS, 3BN 769 L-S-N4Brochure 4B Fall FY11 DM Mature 4=RCAS Matures 4BL, 4BS, 4BN 650 L-S-N1Letter 1L Fall FY11 DM GEN Y Fall Direct mail Letter 1LL, 1LS, 1LN 2,358 L-S-N2Letter 2L Fall FY11 DM Gen X 2=RCAS Gen X 2LL, 2LS, 2LN 1,534 L-S-N3Letter 3L Fall FY11 DM BOOM 3=RCAS Boomers 3LL, 3LS, 3LN 774 L-S-N4Letter 4L Fall FY11 DM Mature 4=RCAS Matures 4LL, 4LS, 4LN 653 L-S-N55 BSB 55 BSB Fall DM FY11 direct mail 55BSB 4,043 L-S-N56 GSLIS 56 GSLIS Fall DM FY11 direct mail 56GSLIS 5,731 L-S-N57 SOE 57 SOE Fall DM FY11 direct mail 57SOE 1,878 L-S-N58 GSSW 58 GSSW Fall DM FY11 direct mail 58GSSW 320 L-S-N59 SLCS 59 SLCS Fall DM FY11 direct mail 59SLCS 297 L-S-NFall email FY11 Fall year end email FY11 Email blast year end 9256 L-S-N
Results• Letter performed better than the brochure• Boomers & matures vs. Gen X & Gen Y• Direct mail vs. phonathon Undergraduate Letter Brochure Phonathon Response Rate 2.09% 1.94% 44% Average Gift $78.78 $64.58 $57.63
Sample 2012 Overview1. Audience – same2. Segmentation – same3. Test – new online system & designations4. Marketing Mix – better timing, channels, web, & email communications5. Results
Sample 2012 Direct Mail Results FY12 Avrg/ Appeal Solicited Amount Response % Donors Donor Undergrad Fall Direct Mail 10,834 $42,368.00 4.48% 485 $87.36 Graduate Fall Direct Mail 9,226 $9,586.00 1.44% 133 $72.08 Undergraduate Spring 7,520 $11,403.91 1.72% 129 $88.40 Direct Mail Graduate Spring Direct Mail 8,879 $2,945.00 0.50% 44 $66.93 FY11 Avrg/ Appeal Solicited Amount Response % Donors Donor Undergrad Fall Direct Mail 9965 $15,652.00 2% 218 $71.80 Graduate Fall Direct Mail 12269 $9,302.50 1% 136 $68.40 Undergraduate Spring 7,268 $6,405.00 1.07% 78 $82.12 Direct Mail Graduate Spring Direct Mail 9,096 $1,705.00 0.3% 27 $63.15