Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Great Mid Value Mail Pack Explained

I asked Ruthann Richardson of Pareto Fundraising to tell us about a Great Mid Value Pack.

My favourite mid value pack
Looking at the current landscape of fundraising, I can’t help but think that the biggest opportunity for us, as fundraisers today, lies in bequests and major gifts. 

As someone who professionally focuses primarily on direct mail, I believe there is a lot of opportunity for us in both of these areas, and furthermore I think as a sector, we can really improve our communication with mid value donors.

These are not your hundred-thousand-dollar-donors, at least not yet, but still, they are people who give generous amounts of money to your organisation. 

The giving values for this group may vary by organisation, but these people are recent donors, who have given on more than one occasion, and who most likely give you $250-$10,000 or more in a year. They are all in your top 20% of donors from which you will likely raise 80% of your appeals income.

I looked at mid value packs from Australia, New Zealand and North America to try and identify my favourite mid-value pack.  It was really hard to make a choice. 

But my favourite pack has to be a mid-value pack that World Vision Australia sent as part of their Australia Programs Appeal in 2014. I love this pack. 

I love the inspirational story of an Aboriginal woman who, because of World Vision donors, received her teaching certificate and is helping to create a better future for her community. I love the images of children in pre-school, learning in English and in their local language. 

And I love the real life materials included, like the book World Vision is using to educate families on traditional and modern ways of looking after their babies to give them the best chance at survival. 

Then there is the map of the different Aboriginal language groups across Australia and the Program Report.  The latter was photocopied and included in the pack to provide information on the work that World Vision is doing in the Warlpiri region.

The pack also included a ‘with compliments slip’ and a DVD with a message from Tim Costello the CEO.  A special, beautiful sheet of address labels and stickers featuring imagery from central Australia was added in as well.

But to my mind, what really makes this pack special and a stand as a mid-value pack, is the professional way it is packaged and presented to me a donor.  I have been a donor to World Vision in various countries for over 15  years. 

All of these inserts, including a five-page letter with a covering page, are included in a beautiful brown folder.  The folder has an opening showing my name through a little window.
All were sent to me in a C4 outer in quality stock. 

The covering page indicates, in large letters, that this is a special report – prepared especially for me – and I have to tell you – as a donor – I felt special just opening that pack. 

Tim told me, in that very first page, that he needs to raise $710,000 for ground breaking projects that are crucial to the future of young Australian Indigenous children. He states that the following letter will tell me more about these projects and why it is so important that they are able to continue. And he tells me that he has chosen to send this report only to a small, select group of World Vision Supporters INCLUDING me, and explains to me why…

Firstly, because the contents are confronting because they challenge widely-held beliefs about Indigenous Australians and the disadvantages they face.  And secondly, because he believes I have the courage to respond in a way that many people do not. And it makes me feel like I do.

This pack is impossible to ignore in your letterbox.  And you cannot help but open to the first simple, and effective covering page.  This is a personal invitation to walk alongside Indigenous Australians who are making powerful, positive change in their communities. 

As a recipient I felt inspired, honoured and incredibly important because of the belief that World Vision has in me.

Because I was fortunate enough to have worked on this pack, I know that the mid-value segment exceeded expectations, and I can’t help but believe that the special care and attention, and the additional inserts included in this pack contributed to the exception result from our mid-value donors.  

This pack was designed specifically for them, and presented a solid case for why the donors support was so essential to the success of these programs and the incredible work World Vision is doing with Indigenous communities in Australia.

Ruthann Richardson has worked in fundraising for many years, including working with World Vision in Canada and Australia.  She now works in Sydney, Australia with Pareto Fundraising. She remains a dedicated World Vision supporter.  And she occasionally blogs too.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sorry Darling, Not Everyone Wants a Relationship With You

Go to any conference, read any fundraising blog and you will likely be told how important it is to ‘build relationships’ with your donors.  Maybe it is couched as ‘engagement’.

You may see headlines like “Research shows that donors are more likely to donate if they are engaged”.

We believe this, after all it makes sense doesn’t it!?  More engaged donors will give more.  Of course, people who give more are more, ahem, engaged too.

At the same time we read about rising costs of acquisition and development, and are constantly reminded about this by our own budgets and results.

So, on one hand we need to build relationships – which costs money – and on the other hand keep costs down.

What to do?  Luckily, you don’t need to invest lots into everyone.

Most donors don’t want relationships with you.  They gave because they liked the pack/person who signed them up on the street/advert online/Facebook post/friend who did an event. 

If you have ever done any qualitative or quantitative donor research, you’ll find most of your donors don’t even know the name of your organisation.  They often don’t know how much, or when they gave. 

Also about 80% of your future income is going to come from just 20% of your supporters (see Making More For Your Cause with the Pareto Principle).  And, interestingly, about half of all your future income is going to come from a tiny number of donors – perhaps as low as 5% of them!

Combining these facts, you can quickly begin to prioritise the donors ‘worth’ the extra investment in time and money.

There are some nearly free ways we can improve how we communicate with all donors. 

These boil down to:
  • Donor centric language.  Thank them, not you.  Praise them, not you. Demonstrate outcomes from a recipients point of view, not yours.  Make all your communications about them.  Not you.
  • Personalising letters and response coupons in mail.  Modern technology easily allows for personalised ask amounts in letter copy very easily.
  • Using the phone to thank and ask for monthly giving.

These things will also lead to you raising more money straight away so that is good news.

There is more we can do, but the cost begins to go up. In a separate article, and in my Webinars, I will cover what we could do to engage donors better – especially these ‘mid value donors’ who are ‘worth’ more costly engagement.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Is the British Crisis in Fundraising Real? Or a Crisis of Courage?

If you are interested in the 'crisis' in British Fundraising, which started after a charity supporter, Olive Cooke, committed suicide in Bristol, England.  Newspapers accused charities of hounding her to death.

Her family denied that, but by then the truth was irrelevant.  It doesn't sell papers.

UK charity staff seemed to put their hands up "It's a fair cop, guvn'r".

But was it?

Check out my thoughts on 101Fundraising.com.

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here