Thursday, August 16, 2012

Matching solicitation and giving vehicles

One of the many things that your database already contains about your donors is a preferences menu.  We generally look to this menu on a transactional basis when we use it on an annual, monthly or daily basis to look at success by program and or solicitation.

Part of our annual planning needs to be looking at this data and identifying those donors who clearly indicate clear and distinct methods through which they prefer to give.  Doing so can be very simple, start with donors who have given in at least 3 years and then identify those who have only given via one solicitation method.  Group them by method and then create a channel for solicitations that matches that vehicle.  There is typically a clear mail population and a clear phone population.  There will most likely also be a smaller online population but that one is especially tricky as you can get there from all three vehicles so it is much more complicated (unless you utilize unique tracking urls for mail, phone and online sources.)  Because of that challenge with the online, I suggest that you start with a mail campaign and a phone campaign centered around the population who have given through that vehicle.

Pull your LYBUNTS from these campaigns and add an appeal matching their vehicle of choice with the timing of their last gift.  Leave them in the majority of what else you do and exclude based upon your usual rules regarding management of donors.  For the balance of the single vehicle donor pools we created above, pull them from the other solicitation methods for the first quarter or half of the year and solicit them via the vehicle of their history.  Acknowledge this effort and approach in your appeals and give them the chance to give that way.  If they don't give, you now retain the ability to add them to other campaigns and efforts but do so with an expectation that they are most likely to give through that same method so focus on that for them.

This takes some work on the segmentation and additional messaging but by recognizing the communication methods of your donors you maximize your chances of success while minimizing the costs.