So how often should you mail?
Pareto Fundraising, the company I co-founded before Moceanic, looks at data and tries to work out what the optimum communications program should be to maximise lifetime value from donors.
Donors are very expensive to get on board, and it is imperative that you look at your data to maximise return on that initial investment.
The most important factor for whether someone will give to you is whether they gave you previously.
Then, the most important variables are how recently and how many times. The more recent someone gave, the more likely they are to give again.
Let me say that again, because it’s so important, and you might not believe it: The more recent someone gave, the more likely they are to give again.
So, mailing, emailing or phoning more often means that you are constantly communicating with donors more recently, and therefore more likely to get gifts from them.
Also, the biggest cause of attrition is not giving for a while (!). Fewer communications mean that the gap between giving is greater.
If you don’t communicate very often, your attrition goes up, not down. Unless your communications are not very good.
When it comes to asking donors for a monthly gift we also note that there is an optimum time. It does vary slightly, depending on the cause, channel of solicitation, etc. but it is always going to be within a couple of months of a gift.
Four to six weeks is the right place to start. We are not alone with this approach, anyone else who measures lifetime value and optimum ‘conversion’ timings finds the same answer.
And this does not appear to vary between countries.
We took that learning from data in the UK and applied it in Australia to find the same.
Analysing data across other countries gives us the same result.
This approach is not aggressive and is not subjective or an opinion.
It is maths. Across any given data set, increasing communications tends to increase the lifetime value of that data set. Not just short-term income, but overall lifetime giving.
Managed well, it should also increase your number of bequests.
Moceanic’s fellow Fundraisingologist, Jeff Brooks advocates as many as thirty asks per annum.
That seems a lot, but he says that he has never seen increasing the number of asks decrease the total value given.