Saturday, 2 June 2012

Ten truths about direct response fundraising

  • Thanking your online or offline donors quickly is key to the future success of a direct response programme.
  • Robust direct response programmes get better results than a collection of appeal letters or random emails.  Robust programmes are those that contain targeted appeals to various donor segments using well chosen cause concepts that are likely to appeal to donors.
  • Ask too often and some donors will lapse – don’t ask enough and you are likely to see even more donors lapse.
  • The most effective fundraising appeals contain: a letter, a separate reply device and a reply envelope.
  • Additional enclosures in fundraising appeals packages increase costs and are likely to reduce response rates.
  • Charities that send out newsletters or e-updates, in addition to appeals are likely to see increased response from their direct response programme.
  • One-off appeals for emergencies are likely to bring more money than appeals for ongoing projects. However, in the long run a well-designed direct response programme can help retain donors and bring in higher overall income. 
  • Few donors are likely to upgrade their giving so don’t lower the bar on first-time gifts.
  • Your fundraising programme should give all donors opportunities to contribute – be it gifts of £5 or £100. 
  • Testing different appeal packages really works if you are regularly mailing 10,000 or more donors.

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