To Affinity and Beyond . . .

Donors “speak” to ministries with every interaction.

When they give.
How much they give.
What they give to.

The question is, are you listening?

Capturing this data and making sense of it is a great way to “hear” what your donors are “saying.” So, again . . . are you listening?

In June 2013, Masterworks researched a national client to determine if the organization’s approach to mailing and list segmenting was working well — how well they were listening to their donors. We wanted to know if a more advanced segmentation could “improve their hearing” — as well as improve their response, income and long-term value.

The existing approach was to mail every impact to all donors who qualified based on their transaction history — last gift date, single largest gift and number of gifts. The trouble was, this client has two distinctive offer seasons. And the research showed that response ebbed and flowed based on the season in which donors were acquired and what offers they gave to. Donors who gave during Season One rarely responded in Season Two. And vice versa.

So this prompts a question: How do you get a donor to respond to an offer that, in their mind, is not really related to their primary interest? Answer: By speaking carefully about how their primary affinity supports their secondary affinity.

In September 2013, donors were put into affinity groups. Fundraising impacts were specifically targeted based on those affinities. By taking the prior year’s campaign data by affinity, we were able to project what the response rate and average gift would be with no other changes in the coming fiscal year. The results were beyond our expectations.

When we specifically versioned an impact to the donor group rather than trying to broaden the offer to speak to everyone, we saw a 55% increase in income and a 16% increase in the average gift over projections. When we changed the topic altogether and spoke to the primary affinity group during the opposite season, we doubled revenue.

The research shows that as soon as the donor responds to a cross-sell offer, they become 70% more valuable to the ministry.

The lesson is this: You can increase the conversion of donors to cross-sell offers, but only by meeting them where they are and showing them the real value of supporting more than one ministry program.