Posted: 03 Dec 2014 04:59 AM PST
The Grizzard Blog shares one of those scary pieces of knowledge that live in the major donor world: Stop Mailing The Major Donors!
Actually, don't stop mailing the major donors.
The post reports on a test where five hundred $500+ donors were sent a list of the 12 direct mail appeals they were scheduled to receive in the coming year. They were given the chance to opt out of as many of those 12 as they liked. If they didn't respond, they'd get all 12.
37%, of those donors returned instructions. The highest number of appeals any of them selected was 3.
At the end of the year, they compared the group that received all 12 mailings to the group that had identified those mailings they wanted.
The result was interesting: The donors who received all 12 mailings gave 35% more than those who restricted their appeals.
This is a bit of a surprise to me. It's normal for a group getting less mail to give less. But usually, giving donors choice -- any kind of choice -- results in more giving. I'd have expected the positive impact of choice to outweigh the negative impact of less contact. Silly me.
There may have been something about the nature of this choice that pointed the donors in the wrong direction. If you think about it, those donors said no over and over again. Nine times or more. That sets a pattern.
But there's an important lesson here: Less mail, less giving. That's true in nearly every situation. Including major donors.
Never assume donors will give more or retain longer if they get less contact. It almost never works that way.
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