Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Maximize Direct Mail Income

I know . . . I know . . . yesterday we announce that we have moved into the Post-Direct Mail era and today I lead off my blog talking about direct mail. "What’s with that," you are saying...?

Yes; yesterday was a red letter day for BIG Blog readers. I challenged those of you whose organizations are overly dependent on direct mail for fund raising revenue to put a mark down in the sands of time so that going forward, you are in the Post-Direct Mail era.

But, oh yes; today we are still overly dependent on direct mail as our main channel for fund raising. I am certainly not telling you to stop using direct mail. Absolutely not. But I am going to suggest that you begin to take a different approach to how you plan your direct mail. And that different approach is to MAXIMIZE your direct mail profitability.

Let’s start with acquisition. Acquisition is a very big annual investment for your direct mail program. With list universes shrinking, that tells us that everybody’s donor file is shrinking. This varies from sector to sector, but specifically in the faith-based sector (or Religious sector as it is referred to in the Target Analytics 2010 Index of National Fundraising Performance report) the list universe is definitely shrinking. Instead of doing the same thing that you did last year, I would suggest you work with your trusted list broker and really narrow down the prospect lists. Next, contract with an Analytic group to create a model that will have the effect of mailing much fewer names, BUT generating essentially the same or higher response. The net is you MAXIMIZE your income.

This is not new. Back in the 1990s, we were routinely using analytic methodology by scoring prospect list files to MAXIMIZE response into the profitable range. This is hugely important as the age of prospect lists – especially in the Religious sector – has aged dramatically. Our old lifetime value calculations go out the window as someone comes on your new donor file at age 86, whereas ten years ago the average of new donor ages might have been 76. Big difference!

Analytic groups can also help you MAXIMIZE income on your house mailings too.

If you don’t know where to find an Analytic group, drop me an email and I’ll give you some leads.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.

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