One of the more counter intuitive things in direct response fundraising is limiting response to just one vehicle.
In other words asking donors to respond through the mail, and the mail only.
Surely giving more options (web, phone) can only increase response/income?
Not necessarily. The reason/s?
- DM donors are DM donors. They're habitual. They love responding through the mail.
- It's easy. There are no distractions (especially if you laser all of their details on the response form and include a postage paid reply envelope).
- There can be a disconnect between the response form/appeal and the person on the end of the call or the landing page on your website.
In other words, you ask for $100 in the letter, all the way through. Then you send me to your 1800 number. The rep on the phone tells me I can "give whatever I feel comfortable with". Huh? But you asked for me $100 in the letter?
Similarly you bounce through to our donation page. The default ask is $40. Huh? But you asked me for $100 in the letter?
See what's happening here.
Now let me say that we have seen instances of more channels open = more income. But it isn't a given. You need to test it on your file. Let the donors do the talking.
The goalposts have shifted recently however. With the advent over the last few years of PURL's: personalized URL's.
Put simply, that means you can send people/donors through to a page where their details are dropped into their own personal page. That $100 ask is still $100, not $40 or "whatever you feel comfortable with".
We're about to do some more testing around pushing people online versus keeping it focused through the mail. But the difference being we're using PURL's in the online group to see whether this increases the chance someone will respond (by pre populating their details) and ensuring we generate the same level of gift we would through the mail (by including the same ask level).
Technology can make our lives easier. And hopefully our fundraising more effective. Who would have thought.