Direct Mail Fundraising

Key No. 7: Rigorous Analysis  
One of the really great strengths of direct mail fundraising is that it can become a totally controllable and predictable process if the right data is captured and analysed.

Once a pattern of response rates and levels of giving are established, these tend to be repeated if the conditions ( ie the targeting, message, ask level, timing) are similar.

So the key here is capturing and analyzing the right data.

Capturing the right data. Here is a list of the minimum data that needs to be captured:

  • Unique customer number if allocated
  • Name and address
  • Any other address info, such as phone, email
  • Campaign identifier ( e.g. Christmas Appeal 2003)
  • Mailing date of campaign
  • Response codes identifying list selection
  • Gift amount
  • Date of gift
  • Opt outs for future direct mail
  • Opt outs for list swaps
  • Whether Gift Aid tick box comleted
  • Any other Data Protection information (eg a request to receive one mailing a year only)

This set of data will allow analysis of the following key performance factors:

  • Response rate of specific list selections or segments of warm list
  • Overall campaign response rate
  • Average gift levels per list selection or segment and overall
  • Total value of donations per segment and overall
  • Percentage of opt outs
  • Added value of Gift Aid

Below are two sample response charts which provides this analysis for a cold mailing (Chart A) and a warm mailing (Chart B).

chart Achart A2

Chart B

This chart shows that donors whose most recent gift was over 18 months ago and was less than £5 in value are probably not worth mailing anymore, or need reactivating in some way. As things stand, it costs more to mail them than they give.

chart B