As this economy has shown us, to be viable, an organization needs to have a solid donor base instead of relying on a few large gifts.
Organizations with a limited number of current donors should view fundraising as any other long-term investment: the first few projects are purely prospecting campaigns to build a solid donor base quickly and with the least possible risk. These campaigns may or may not break even. Each organization has its own goals. One may want to grow its donor base very quickly; another may want a more relaxed approach allowing time for more funding to become available.
We work with new clients to determine the best possible strategy, while constantly weighing the risk-versus-benefit ratio. Acquiring 100,000 donors will take a lot of time, effort, energy and above all patience, but with the right mindset and expertise, we will IY”H get you there.
After each project we analyze the results to see what worked and what didn’t, and to suggest changes where needed. After the first few projects, we will have a clearer idea of what speaks to our specific donors and which project styles have the most success.
We should also now have a viable donor base that allows us to start seeing a profit as we continue to grow our donor base.
Literally hundreds of new organizations have sprung up over the past few years.
As a result, many organizations with a lot of fundraising experience have noticed a dramatic drop in returns and it has become more important than ever to stand out with a unique message and a powerful image.
Mailing to the same lists over and over again without acquiring new leads can show up on the bottom line. Is your organization keeping up with a younger demographic of donors? Are you sending a relatable message and an attractive incentive?
Having been in the fundraising world for so many years and keeping up with the ever changing market, we can analyze your organization and cause to determine what can be enhanced, what needs to be changed, and what path to take.
Think of your last project.
Did it go out in time? Was the printer waiting for the designer to finish? Were you on the phone begging the printer to hurry as the mail house has a window tomorrow?
A successful mail project requires a tremendous amount of time and energy and the collaboration of many individuals working together. Perfect timing and precision are critical from concept through copywriting and design and on to printing and the mail house. If one element is out of place, the whole project can fall apart and the headache is yours.
Now imagine meeting with us to tell us your goals, then letting us go to work on developing a campaign without any headaches on your part. We do everything in house so you are assured the job will be done on time and done right.
Additionally, when dealing with a separate firm for each part of the job, the list broker will not be able to match the list to the mail piece and the printer won’t be able to match the type of paper to the mood of the piece (e.g., a somber mailing should not be printed on glossy paper etc.).
When you work with us, we develop a concept and goal that we follow through the entire project. The result is a timely campaign with a strong message that is expressed throughout the writing, design and production.
If this economy has shown us anything it is that we cannot rely on the few large donations.
In a tough economy, large donations are the first expenses to be cut. Smaller donors tend to continue their $18, $36 and $100 donations in these times—in fact we have seen an increase in the smaller donations as people understand the need is greater in this kind of economy.
We are working with many organizations that have relied on their large donations for years. When this economy hit they were severely impacted as they had no wide donor base to lean on.
In addition, the pool of donors is fertile ground to find the next big donor for any economy. Anyone donating $180 to a cold mailing should receive your warm thank you letter or a personal call. Before you know it she can be your next $10,000 donor!
We would first analyze your organization and any projects that have been done in the past. This helps determine the strongest selling point for your cause.
Because we are a full scale telemarketing , direct mail, email & online marketing firm, we can pinpoint the best approach to attracting potential donors by mail, phone or a combination. Once we have determined the type of campaign and the exact pitch, we put together a list that has the best chance of returns based on the thousands of campaigns and analyses we have successfully completed. This may be a list from a similar organization or perhaps blanket a specific geographical area.
We do everything to make sure the list is a perfect fit to the cause, the concept and to the mail, email or phone project.
Finally, we will move ahead with writing, designing and printing and we won’t stop until we reach perfection. We will tell you what we feel the potential for the campaign is as well as real numbers you can expect based on thousands of projects we have completed.
It all depends on the type and size of the campaign, the services included etc., but the most important thing for us is to work within your budget and comfort zone. Before beginning any campaign, we will put together a very clear proposal so there are no surprises later and you never receive an unplanned bill for printing, caller training, follow-up mailing, copywriting, etc.
All pricing will be mentioned up front and will be thoroughly discussed to make sure your organization is on board and has a clear understanding of what each project entails and what the associated costs are. When developing a campaign, you should never spend more than you feel is right even if a designer tries to convince you of the tremendous returns possible.
Many factors determine the success of a campaign: the type of cause, the time of year, the ratio of past donors to prospects, efficiency of mailing out fulfillment, etc. Obviously, focusing on donors who have given in the past would be most profitable, but if we target the same donors, one campaign after another, the base will shrink very quickly as people move, marry and pass on. That is the main reason for marketing to new prospects during each campaign.
Still, we need to be sure the ratio is profitable; that the profit from donors carries the cost of prospecting and leaves us with a healthy overall return and as many new donors as possible. Especially when it comes to prospecting, the type of cause plays a big role as people will faster donate to a sick child than to a struggling school.
Having the right prospects and marketing to them correctly such as by holding a raffle or giving free gifts to those who respond will have an impact for even the “weakest” cause. It is all about viewing each client as unique and working to tailor the services to best serve their needs. In our experience, a good phone campaign will do equally well any time of year, while direct mail projects will generally do better around Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover.
Specific organizations may have better results at a certain time. For example if your main cause is search-and-rescue, people will understand there is a greater need for your services during the summer. Many social services do very well in the dead of winter when we can pitch for food and warm clothing.
Although we do not guarantee any results, you can be sure we will do everything possible to make your campaign a successful one.
Before answering this question, we need to remind you that if you are not chasing your donors, someone else is. Therefore we always need to find the balance between keeping donors and causing donor fatigue to kick in. Generally, two mailings per year and two properly spaced phone campaigns are a good strategy, especially if each campaign is designed differently, such as one raffle and one sponsorship.
Organizations with multiple services can focus on different projects for each campaign. We have clients who do six mail campaigns and six phone campaigns each year and do very well because each campaign focuses on a totally unique project. For example a large social services organization with separate offices for teens at-risk, food for the poor and aid for the elderly, can focus on each project numerous times a year, while going after a different prospecting list with a different concept each time.
With email deployments, many organizations have seen amazing results with monthly newsletters followed by quarterly e-mail appeals.
There are many ways to reach out to donors and prospects—newspaper inserts, e-mail marketing, web banners, phone and mail campaigns each have their pros and cons. But the two that have shown to be extremely successful are phone and mail campaigns. It is very easy for a potential donor to delete an e-mail without giving it a second glance or flip to the next page in a newspaper. A phone call gets him on the phone. He may not donate but we will get a response from him.
The same applies to a mailing: the mail is in his hands for the very reason of looking at each envelope and determining which deserves further inspection. We have found that a mail campaign followed 4-6 weeks later by a phone campaign to the people who did not respond by mail is the most successful formula. It is usually not a good idea to do both at the same time as people will tell you on the phone, “I have your envelope from the mailing” and then not send in anything.
E-mail, newspapers and web marketing do have benefits in getting the word out quickly to a broader audience and usually for a lot cheaper. But without an envelope in hand or a phone call all that PR goes to waste. Many of our clients will put ads in the paper or send an e-mail blast and then follow up with a mail campaign. The specific type of campaign that has seen results from just an e-mail blast or an ad campaign is for an urgent matter such as an earthquake or bombing, when people are living in the news and understand that time is of the essence. Organizations that do not have any name recognition may benefit the most from web or ad campaigns that spread the word inexpensively and efficiently.
A mail campaign, while usually more cost effective, is a very slow vehicle for growth with a typical response rate from prospects ranging between 3% – 7%. The response rate in a phone campaign is typically much higher at between 20% – 25%.
So, although a typical telemarketing campaign will cost more initially, it is the absolute fastest and most efficient way of acquiring new donors. Adding a phone campaign to your existing mailings will not hurt your mail campaigns and in fact will enhance them by bringing in new donors. Even donors who have responded to numerous mail campaigns will hear your name in a phone campaign, feel that you have kept in touch and be moved to donate to your cause.
Fundraising is a puzzle that takes many moves to complete, some simple and some complex. Success in fundraising requires a plan, a dream and a lot of hard work.
What is most important is that the people working for you have the experience, the knowledge and the ability to see it through. What began twenty-five years ago as a telemarketing project for a single school, has grown into a full scale direct marketing firm offering all direct mail, e-mail and telemarketing services under one roof.
Our goal is for you to be successful now and in the long run and we have the ability to do just about anything to accomplish that. Whether your focus is retaining current donors, acquiring new ones or reclaiming lapsed one, we will create the gift mailing, certificate mailing, personalized letter or other campaign that will work best and we will do it right. Whether you need a list, a concept, design, printing, copywriting, mail house services, event reminder calls or fundraising advice, we have the experience to help and we look forward to helping you.
A good list can come from any number of sources.
The best place to begin is by looking at available donor lists. Problem is, most organizations will not put their best names up for rent, so you will get the names that have been attempted many times by every other organization—names that may or may not have given recently.
Because we are more than just a lists broker, we have unique access to the most accurate and up to date lists. We can qualify a list in real time to determine if it is in fact a worthy list, what it has done recently for other clients and whether we should acquire it or look elsewhere.
We don’t look to market one list over another as our goal is not to sell you the list but to see your campaign succeed. If you are looking for 100,000 names and a single list won’t do, we will compile a list from various sources without the hassle and expense of merging them and paying twice for the same name.
We only charge for net names, never gross, as we feel, that is only fair. If you need to target a specific neighborhood, we can custom-tailor a list by dozens of specific details: all Orthodox Jews in the area, all Jewish households or even all Orthodox households with children, earning $50K annually that own their homes.
We will not rest until we have compiled the perfect list for your needs, the one that gives us the greatest chance of success.
Depending on how old a list is we can usually clean it up and bring it up to date. (A list that has not been used in over five years is very difficult to update.)
Fundraisers know that an integral part of success is keeping up with an ever changing donor base. That’s why it is so important that your information gets updated by the changes that come into your office and by periodically giving it in to be fully checked and updated with address changes, etc. Our unique approach lets us update information that is otherwise unavailable.
We have access to every single household in the US, so beyond the basic steps of NCOA and CASS, we can match your list using very specific criteria to update information. Our in-house “deceased” and “moved” files are proprietary and are the products of thousands of phone and mail campaigns. Our matching logic for merge/purge was developed by our own programmers to be as near to perfect as possible.
The answer to this depends on numerous things: does the client have name recognition? Is the mailer going to donors or prospects? What is the budget of the project? Is the goal of the project to raise funds or to raise awareness? What image is the organization trying to portray? Is it an emergency mailing that should look like it was put together in 1 day?
For donors, a certificate of recognition may work best. For prospects, a freebie can get the mailing opened and earn a guilt donation, but that kind of donation may only repeat itself if there is a free gift next mailing.
We will analyze your position and recommend the strategy we feel will be is most successful.
Newsletters, receipts, updates and thank you letters all have a positive effect on donors, even though you may not see immediate results from sending them.
Without question, sending out monthly updates and thank you letters go a long way in telling your donors what their donations have accomplished and that you view them as partners.