This week, I had a conversation with one of my very first clients. And, I wanted to share their success story. You see, too many groups don’t want to invest in donor acquisition because they know that they will lose money – in the short-term. Who intends to invest in that, particularly if you are only thinking of the organization’s short-term success.
Well, this group had a total of 700 names in their donor file. And, they were in serious trouble operating in crisis mode. Person after person told them that they should not invest in donor acquisition, but really what choice did they have. They knew that their donor file was suffering from natural attrition, and if they didn’t do something, they might as well not do anything at all.
They bit the bullet and against all odds decided to invest in donor acquisition. They hired a professional list brokerage and donor acquisition company who then supplied recommendations and advice on the records that best met their needs and premiums well suited to and representing their mission. Lists are usually anywhere from around $80 to $150 per thousand names and addresses for a single use. They also invested heavily in the acquisition renewal process, so that these first-time donors, would give again through a very intensive mail series. And, in fact, for the first seven donor acquisition pieces that they sent they did lose money. But, then the tide turned, just like it should with donor acquisition, and they began to see positive returns. And, not just with donor renewals, but with the acquisition mailing itself.
Now, several years later, they make money with their donor acquisition efforts. In fact, they are seeing donors who are sending in substantial donations as a result. In fact, they have received donations from donors renewing at $25,000 or more.
Further, they recently sent an urgent appeal to their donors in need of upgrading their sprinkler system. The result of this appeal mailing – net over $100,000.
So, when they started back in 2011, they had a donor list that had no more than 700 names. Today, that list has grown to well over 40,000 names.
Do you think that donor acquisition is way too costly for your organization? For this one small organization, it was, but if they wanted to be around, they had no other choice. While you may think that you cannot afford to invest in donor acquisition, imagine what could be achieved for your mission if you had a donor file that increased by over 5,500 percent in five years time!!! How long has your donor file remained at the same stagnant number?
Donor Acquisition is THAT important to consider, and I know that you don’t want to, but to move your organization forward, you must. Your data file is declining just by merely being. What are you going to do about it?
More on donor acquisition in future blog articles.