The success of middle and major donor direct response campaigns

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I’ve just reviewed results from three middle/major donor integrated direct response fundraising campaigns that my teams managed for various social service organizations over the last year. The numbers are astonishing!

We’ll get to those in a second. First, I want to share some of the negative myths we’ve dealt with around these campaigns, and why they simply aren’t true.

Myth #1: Major donors NEVER give through the mail or online

Myth #2: Your best donors will FREAK OUT if you contact them multiple times within a few months

Myth #3: Social service organizations (especially those that feed/shelter the homeless) just don’t have REAL major donor supporters

What we’ve proven out over the last year is that the three myths above simply aren’t true.

Using a proven formula of integrated digital, phone, direct mail, and in some cases face-to-face touch points, focused on a thematic campaign supporting a very strong (and specific) offer in a short window of time (6-8 weeks), we’ve raised millions of dollars.

Here are some key results for your consideration:

Organization A: Goal was to raise $1 million in 8 weeks from a group of 2,500 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. The campaign delivered a 27% response rate, a $452 average gift, and $972,000 in revenue at a 14:1 ROI. This included 71 gifts of $1,000, 8 gifts of $5,000, and one gift each of $10,000, $15,000, $25,000, and $85,000.

Organization B: Goal was to raise over $400,000 in 8 weeks from a group of 1,900 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $9,999. The campaign delivered a 24% response rate, a $300 average gift, and $388,000 in revenue at a 6:1 ROI. This included 30 gifts of $1,000, 13 gifts of $2,000 – $3,500, and one gift each of $5,000, $6,000, $23,000, and $50,000.

Organization C: Goal was to raise $500,000 in 6 weeks from a group of 2,300 active and lapsed donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. Some donors hadn’t given to this organization in more than four years. The campaign delivered a 58% response rate, an average gift over $700, and more than $1.3 million in revenue at a 12:1 ROI. This included multiple five and six-figure gifts.

Each of these organizations are local-based social service organizations. And in each case, at least one of the myths listed above had been surfaced (in some, all three were concerns). What our campaigns proved out is that social service organizations do in fact have the kind of donors who can make significant contributions. We were also able to prove out that major donors do, in fact, give through the mail, email, and via phone — if they’re presented with a strong and compelling offer. And lastly, I can tell you that multiple, coordinated touch points in a short period of time did not produce complaints from any of these three audiences.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “The success of middle and major donor direct response campaigns

  1. Interesting. I wonder what results previous campaigns for those organizations yielded.

    What is the best way to be in touch?

    All the best,
    Leora Estersohn

    • Hi Leora,

      In each of these cases that I talked about, the NET income from that same audience at that same time of year increased by at least 100% with the new approach. In some cases it was even significantly more than that.

      You can contact me at [andrew at andrewolsen dot net].