Donor acquisition

Published on August 25, 2015 by

What happens when you stop direct mail acquisition

Wow.

Everyone said they were crazy when the American Cancer Society announced they would stop direct mail acquisition.

A huge decision given they mail 41 million piece of acquisition mail. In 2012, they spent $10 million to generate 252,000 new donors through direct mail acquisition.

But it kind of sounded like they had good reasons for making that decision. So despite the naysayers, I always think it’s courageous to try something different.

Eighteen months after making that decision, ACS reinstated their direct mail acquisition program.

You can read about it here, here, and

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Published on July 14, 2015 by

What’s your donor lifetime value: $50, $2500 or $10,000+?

I’ve been discussing acquisition with various clients this year.

And the importance of following up – FAST – on any new donors you get.

Because if you don’t do this, the lifetime value of those donors will remain low.

In fact, you may never recoup the cost of acquiring them… if they never give to you again.

Today’s lesson is: if you’re going to invest in acquisition, have a plan to steward and upgrade your new donors.

Here are the numbers on lifetime value.

A new donor who never gives again has a lifetime value of their first gift only. ...

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Published on December 23, 2013 by

Don’t repeat my mistake when planning for next year

In a nutshell, here is the lesson.

If you’ve got the funds, spend it.

The reason I say this? It’s easiest if I explain by sharing a story of one my direct mail successes. It also happened to be one of my failures.

I once wrote an acquisition piece for a very small non-profit. It was inserted into a variety of publications and did exceptionally well.

When I say exceptionally well, it recruited 392 new donors (doubling the existing database). Income was almost $29,000. The cost was under $20,000.

Given most fundraisers will say you almost always lose money on ...

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Published on September 30, 2013 by

The difference between fundraising and begging

    “I’m not going to beg!”

Frustrated fundraisers (and in some cases CEOs) have told me this is the response they get when trying to involve board members in fundraising.

This is a great shame as it’s costing many charities thousands of dollars each year. Possibly even tens or hundreds of thousands. Money that could be used to help more people, more animals or whatever your cause is.

So I decided to write something to show the difference between fundraising and begging.

Characteristics of beggars

When you’re begging, you have no relationship with the prospect. You develop no right to ...

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