Worth Considering: Divide and Conquer

Worth Considering

When was the last time you “split test” an appeal? You know, changed something (a “variable”), just to see if one seemingly insignificant iteration gets more gifts than what you usually do (the “control.”)? It could be a change in a envelope color, the text of one paragraph, an envelope style or anything else.

Split testing is a powerful, highly underutilized tool in direct response fundraising. You could be missing out in hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars each mailing because your donors think window envelopes aren’t “personal.” Split testing to see if a plain white envelope is better might get you 25 more donors. At your average gift is $41, that’s an extra $1,000 for your mission. Not shabby for an extra 30 minutes of work, huh?

So divide, and conquer your mailings with split testing… and multiply your results.

Monthly Tip: The Eyes Have It

Hugg's Monthly Tip

The eyes have it.

Have a picture of someone in your solicitation? Look at their eyes. Where they look makes a difference.

We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Having a picture of your mission recipient is a powerful emotional “hook” in any direct mail piece. To make that photo yet more effective, the eyes need to be looking one of two ways… at the person reading the letter (makes sense, right?), or (get this!) at the solicitation line of the letter.

As social beings, we react to where we are directed by others like ourselves. If you see someone looking at something, you’re drawn to look there, too. So if the eyes of the mother you’re helping or the first violin of the orchestra you’re funding is looking at the “won’t you give $25 today” line, you will too.

So let the eyes have it… and let ‘em help you raise you more money, too!

That picture could be worth more than a thousand words… it could be worth thousands of dollars, too!

Worth Considering: December Decisions

Worth Considering

It’s late December and one of three things are happening…

  1. You’re in total panic mode. There’s way too much on your plate to get done before the end of the calendar year. You’re spending 24/7 to get it all done before December 31.
  2. You’ve totally checked out. There’s way too much on your plate to get done before the end of the calendar year. You’ve said “too bad” and will get done what you can, which probably means never.
  3. Yeah things are busy, but running normally, and while its year end, it’s not much different than most of other months.

My guess is that most of you are in mode 1. Unfortunately, a few of you are in mode 2. A skilled handful is in mode 3.

If you’re a panic-person, the end-of-year holiday week will mean more of the same. Good luck and we’ll see you in mid-January when you come up for air.

If you’re a checked-out type, give yourself the gift of a resume for the holidays.

Is mode 3 your ideal? But how to get there?

I could say a lot of trite things, but really, none of that can help you now. The truth is that you can’t change much between today and December 31. Besides, there’s no one answer. Planning ahead helps a lot. Doing tasks early is important. You might even enlist a bit more help in the form of volunteers and consultants. But in the end, it comes down to how you’ve always handled things. In college, did you pull the “all-nighter” to finish a paper, or did you adjust and correct the work you completed several days before, and get a decent night’s sleep? Are you doing the same today? If you changed, why?

So my thought for you as you rush (or not) headlong into the holiday season is to ask whether you like, or even thrive, on the rush of last minute work, or is it killing you? If you love it, you’ll never change it. If it’s killing you, then force a break before one is forced on you (like getting fired). Maybe a mid-winter personal retreat? Maybe a long talk with a good friend? Maybe some professional perspective?

Have a happy holiday season and remember to breath at the end!


Monthly Tip: Look now, before it’s too late!

Hugg's Monthly Tip

Look now, before it’s too late!

Before things get too far in the month to make a difference, you need to look, and now!

For what? The names of people and companies in your database who haven’t made their gift yet.

Humans are creatures of habit. For many, December brings the habit of charitable gift giving. Your task today is to scan your lists for anyone who has not made their annual gift but usually does by year’s end. Your task is to help them keep up that habit of giving to your organization.

The problem is that it’s too late to send them a letter. You have to call.

Calling may not be comfortable, but someone has to do it (a volunteer?). Get your list in hand with the donor’s name, phone number and amount of last year’s gift. Then start calling.

Don’t think you’re bothering them. You’re actually doing them a favor, and approach your conversation that way. “Hello, you haven’t made your gift this year and we wanted to give you a friendly reminder because it may be important to you to take care of it before year’s end…”

Will you get a few grumpy responses? Sure. That’s okay. If there’s any problems they have with your organization, wouldn’t you want to address that personally?  Chances are you’ll have a fine conversation with someone who just forgot, has an interesting question about your mission, or had a life event that got them off track.

Remember, for every one gift you drop you need two new ones to get ahead. One simple call means that the next new gift is a net gain, not just keeping you even.

Have fun!