Your direct mail fundraising campaign results never lie. But they mislead you if you aren’t careful. Consider, for example, the most well-known number in direct mail fundraising—the response rate. Everyone knows that generating a high response rate is a good thing and that generating a low response rate is a bad thing.
That’s why one of the first questions that prospective clients ask Alan Sharpe is usually this: “What kind of response rate will your direct mail fundraising packages generate for us?”
That’s a good question.
But the answer Alan gives, if he simply quotes an average response rate, will mislead.
It will mislead because high response rates do not necessarily mean profitable results. And neither do low response rates necessarily mean poor results.
Alan could conceive, write and design a direct mail package that generates a 20% response rate but an average gift of only $2. Not good. You’d lose money. He could craft, produce and mail a package that generates a response rate of only half of one percent but generates an average gift of $2,000. That’s better. Probably.
You see, the problem with direct mail fundraising arithmetic is this—you need to understand and use more than just one measurement. You don’t buy a bunch of bananas based on price alone. You wouldn’t choose a lifelong mate based on looks alone (at least we hope you wouldn’t). And you shouldn’t measure your direct mail fundraising success by one ratio or formula alone.
You need to look beyond each campaign, looking back to previous results and looking forward to anticipated results. After all, you could be satisfied today with a direct mail program that generates an average gift of $35 but never realize that over half of your donors give you just one gift and never give again. Your average gift doesn’t tell you the whole story any more than your response rate tells you the whole story.
Alan helps you find the diamonds in your data
Your results from each direct mail campaign contain a literal wealth of information that you can use to cut costs and increase net income over time. The secret to mining your data for this hidden gold is knowing how to interpret your results accurately.
Alan Sharpe is a direct mail fundraising copywriter, consultant and coach. He helps your development department run a successful direct mail fundraising program year after year. And that, naturally, includes campaign analysis services.
Alan helps you profit from your data
Alan tracks the most vital numbers you need to know, and uses them to arrive at an accurate picture of your accomplishments. The knowledge is in your numbers. All you need to do is uncover it—and use it to your advantage in carrying out your mission.
Alan examines your data, and asks the tough questions:
- What are you doing right that you should continue doing?
- What are you doing wrong that you should stop doing?
- What are you not doing that you should start doing?