The robust file was primarily acquired from direct mail. Donors have strong retention and upgrade well. Differentiated giving levels at $500 and at $5,000. While some donors upgrade by making larger gifts, we have had a lot of success upgrading through increasing the number of gifts per year from donors.
Most major donors actually receive direct mail packages! The mailings help keep donors informed about what’s going on at the Foundation, show them the impact of their gifts, and keep them engaged.
[This will be a chart showing the number of donors at each gift level, to illustrate how many donors there are at the higher levels.]
I won’t go into our entire staff but here are the basics:
Two individuals who handle phone calls – these two individuals primarily handle ALL calls BUT anyone in our office can answer the phone and help the donor We instill an ownership mentality in knowing how our programs work Every single staff member believes in the mission – preserving Marine Corps history!
Data Entry - Processing house handles 65K gifts annually, MCHF handles 40k BUT MCHF data entry staff makes sure all names, addresses, salutations are correct through various processes - In 2014, we will have processed over 100k gifts with this small team at just over $4m from DM. I tell my BoD all the time…that these individuals are the key to our organization…if we mess up a gift, we loose a donor - In my view (and the view of an ED I worked for years ago) – the #1 rule is to get the name right! - In our world, if you mess up a rank, then we just lost a donor. - Our data entry folks make sure all of our data is entered in a timely fashion so the all important thank you can get out the door quickly. - I actually consider these folks just as important as our ED.
VP of Development & ED - Without a dedicated staff, we could not do what we do and that comes from the top down. - ED & VP of Dev are in constant communication – over donors, direct mail, major gifts, cultivation, etc. - ED reads EVERY SINGLE dm package - ED signs every single tku for gifts $250+ - he watches for patterns of giving, address indicators (Park Ave, NYC) and other odd connections - He reminds us constantly that the donor is our investor – it’s his money NOT our money.
LAUTMAN – can you put images of MCHF acquisition package here? Would like to see name labels, photo cards, and letter if possible.
- MCHF acq package is mission focused – 4 pages with name labels & photo cards - Photo cards include two images – one from WWII and one from today’s campaigns – why? Both images relate to our mission of preserving ALL Marine Corps history! - Why do we put name labels in our packages? Easy – they are pride purpose driven. When you drove here today or traveled here, how many cards or folks did you see with USMC bumper stickers or hats with “Vietnam Vet – Marine Corps” worn by folks? - We try hard to remember that the donor mind set really = MCHF mindset – they tell you what they want. Our donors LOVE to share their USMC pride…we just help them out! - If we don’t hug the donor from the start, they won’t hug us back later
Real Life Example –LCpl John Smith (names are with held to protect the innocent) - This example started years ago for us - Gave $100 through Oct Acquisition - 6 months later gave $1000 through May Acquisition - Talk about a red flag! Who gives $1000 through acquisition!!!! - What’s the take away – watch your donors…they tell you how interested they are in your mission. Have your processing center warn you about gifts over a certain threshold. You then can call the donor immediately and thank them. MCHF views any gift over $500 as serious intent.
LAUTMAN – can you put images of MCHF appeals here? Would like to see bumper stickers, calendars (front & back), vet day cards, note cards, name labels, Renewal of Support package, Iwo Appeal, Karen Kelly
You got it….we use more pride driven tactics – bumper stickers, calendars, Veterans Day cards, and name labels…we’ve even tried posters and note cards - MCHF is driven to give the donor what they want which is pride in their Marine Corps. - By giving them calendars & bumper stickers – the donor can scream from the roof tops their Corps pride. - Instead of holiday cards…our donors get Veterans Day cards…even if they aren’t a Vet, they appreciate the sentiment. We pull at their Marine Corps heart strings! - Our processing center emails me with any appeal gift over $1,000 so we can call immediately and thank. - Again, ED signs all gifts over $250 and looks for patterns/addresses
The direct response program includes a variety of types of mailings – to not only solicit gifts, but to engage donors in our mission.
We promote inscribed bricks through an invitation mailing. It is an appealing way for donors to increase their support, as they can purchase a brick in honor or in memory of someone for just $210. Plus, it’s a great engagement opportunity.
Real Life Example – Let’s look back at LCpl Smith and see what he has done in appeals He gives us $2850 His $1,000 gifts are outliers…he wants to be part of our mission He is invested ED begins to call, visit and “chat him up” for a large donation
MCHF considers all gifts of $100k to be a major gift. - How do we keep them invested when they make their first $100k gift? Why this flag case of course! The flag is flown over the Museum and then nicely framed - They get the standard comp invites, they get a non-dm President’s Update letter, hand written notes/calls throughout the year from ED
Real Life Example – Well, we have seen LCpl Smith come to us through acq, now let’s see where his appeal giving got him….he is firmly invested! We continue to cultivate him and other major givers We realize he has more money (let’s be honest, if you have $1m, you have more) but we remember it’s his money NOT OURS FOR THE TAKING. We never turn our backs on major givers, we continually cultivate them In 2014, we went back to 13 of our original major givers and received additional donations from them
Talk! DR and MG folks need to talk. Review the calendar and figure out what mailings can be used for mid-level and major donors.
Create a schedule for contacts. – and stick to it.
If appropriate, flag donors so you can track them.
2015 Bridge: Playing Nicely
Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
Lisa Maska, CFRE
Lautman Maska Neill & Company
In the Sandbox
What will you learn today?
• How direct response campaigns can support
mid-level and major donor programs
• Which strategies are most effective for
• How to identify the best donors to target for
• Silos …
• Fighting over donors…
• Donors being ignored…
• Donors languishing without
• Worst case: donors lapsing…
The solution is synergy.
Not all higher dollar donors are “different.”
You can leverage your direct response
program (mail, online, phone) to steward and
solicit your mid-level and major donors.
This frees up staff time for personal
cultivation and solicitation!
Most donors are DM acquired
The majority of mid-level and major donors
were acquired through mass mailings.
They have responded well in the past
(renewing, upgrading!) to direct mail efforts.
Mail and email can help educate, steward,
retain and upgrade their support.
Mail/email + personal contact = success!
So – who are your major donors?
And – who is in the pipeline?
• “Major” is different for each organization
$500? $1,000? $5,000? $50,000?
• Your direct response donor pool should
provide a pipeline of robust prospects for
upgrade at each level.
0-12 Month Donors ($50+)
Total Giving Range Donors Revenue
$50-99.99 11,852 $714,778
$100-249.99 9,258 $1,265,789
$250-499.99 2,381 $747,062
$500-999.99 836 $500,820
$1,000-2,499.99 404 $532,757
$2,500-4,999.99 61 $193,565
$5,000+ 65 $2,672,153
Active Donors by Annual Value
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000
revenue is nearly
Create tiers and target accordingly
Direct response – up to $499
• Robust integrated mail/online/phone program
Mid-level - $500-$4,999
• Still uses mail/online/phone but adds more cultivation
and personal contacts
Major - $5,000+
• Slightly less mail/online/phone, with addition of
targeted personal contact (calls and visits)
Plan your annual
Remember – even if a donor gives only in November,
they need to hear from you throughout the year!
• Plan touchpoints regularly throughout the year.
• Vary the opportunities to connect – engagement!
• Thank the donor often.
• Ask several times throughout the year.
Even if YOU aren’t asking all year – other organizations are!
The Marine Corps
The Marine Corps Heritage
Foundation raises money to
support the preservation of
USMC history and culture
through the National Museum of
the Marine Corps (which opened
in 2006) and other programs.
• 72,000 Active Donors (most under $1,000 annually)
• Almost all acquired through mass mailings
• Established giving levels
• Semper Fidelis Society ($500-$5,000)
• Friends Program ($5,000 - $99,999, lifetime giving)
• Commandant’s Circle ($100,000+, lifetime giving)
Large Base of Supporters
Direct Response + Staff Solicitation
• Robust multi-channel program (mail/online)
solicits gifts for donors up to $100,000 level
• Staff provide cultivation and stewardship through
personal calls and visits
A Look at the Donor File:
(0-12 month donors by annual giving)
MCHF staff = 12
• Two individuals handle all
• Two full time/two temps
handle all data entry
• Over 100K gifts annually
VP of Development & ED
A small shop but
Let’s Talk Staff and Their Role in Cultivation!
Cultivation begins with
the first contact in
new donor acquisition
LCpl John Smith
• $100 gift through Oct Acquisition
• Six months later, $1,000 donation
through May Acquisition!
Cultivate in Acquisition
through special appeals
$5K cum donors
LCpl John Smith
• In various appeals, gave four
gifts in three years
• Donations varied from $100 to
• Gave additional gift toward
membership for $1,000
Cultivate in Appeals
Higher touch at
major gift level
A little piece of their Museum!
LCpl John Smith
• Gave $1m when asked
• He routinely comes to NMMC to
see how his “investment” is doing
Cultivate in Major Gifts
Strategies for Success
Let Your Direct Response Program do the Heavy Lifting
• Mail/online can offer a variety of opportunities to give
• Giving societies
• Targeted upgrade asks
Critical part of your donor communication
• Educate donors about mission and long-term needs
• Focus on impact – what the donor’s gift has accomplished
• Offer variety of ways to engage and give
• Donors were acquired through the mail – often the best way to
retain and upgrade them!
Mail/email works best in concert with your additional personal
• 125,000 members
(most giving <$1K)
• Many $1,000,000+ donors
• Gap in the middle –
only 500 donors $5K-$25K
Big donors hadn’t given since
campaign to build the Museum.
Needed to educate donors
about mission, and connect
them with regional staff and
Giving Society Invite
The Actors Fund of America
• 12,000 members (many giving
$100 annual membership)
• Membership levels at
$100, $500, $1K
• “In the Spotlight” Giving Program
begins at $2,500
Needed to encourage
upgrades from mid-level group
Wanted to provide deeper
level of information about
programs for seniors.
• Beat goal by 69% - raised $165K from 12,193 donors
• 42 gifts $1,000+ - totaling $98K!
• 3 $1,000 gifts from $250 donors
• 15 $1,000 gifts from $500 donors
• 2 $10K gifts from $5K donors
• And – the campaign started a conversation with donors and
Major Gift Officer.
Information in your database can tell you a lot
• RFM is used to identify biggest pool of prospects
• Campaign responsiveness
• Overlays can add valuable information
• Data appends
• Model behavior
(What size gifts are your donors giving to other
Outside Data Can Enhance
So About Playing Nicely…
Communicate! Mail and Major Gifts and
Marketing staff should be talking – a lot.
• Review calendar together.
• Flag donors for tracking.
• Make sure no donor is falling through the
• Listen to your donors – they tell
you a lot through their giving behavior.
• Be willing to share credit!
Lisa Maska, CFRE
202-296-9660, ext 206