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The power of direct marketing, and therefore fundraising, is that you can test it. Testing gives you certainty. More opinions can be the source of bad advice. Here are 9 top test tips:
“I don’t believe in sending a free gift.” “My donors won’t read a two-page letter.” These are gut-feeling sentiments. Testing can confirm or eliminate these gut-feelings.
Always test one thing at a time to be sure where the difference in response is coming from.
What can you test?
Direct mail: address lists, envelope colour, envelope text, envelope size, texts, subjects, request amounts, formats, long versus short letters, full colour versus black and white, whether to do premiums or not, personalise or not, include a folder or not.
E-mail: subject line, personalisation, photos, headline, offer, length, colour donation button. Landing page: header, text length, photo, photo size, order of form fields, request amounts, donate button colour, message on button.
Landing page: header, text length, photo, photo size, order of form fields, request amounts, donation button colour, message on button.
And much more…
Testing helps predict future actions of your organisation. It shows you what works and what doesn’t work for your organisation. It tells you where and how you can use your money most effectively.
A test is only reliable if you test with sufficient numbers. You will find plenty of calculation tools on the internet. Search with the term: ‘A/B test calculator’ or with ‘direct mail calculator’.
Get a successful package from a few years ago, update it and send it. You will be amazed…
Register your test results. This means that the knowledge stays within the company. It is very costly to have to continually reinvent the wheel or when someone leaves taking their knowledge with them.
If you want to test something new in your recruitment, always test against the mailing that has produced the best result for you so far (your control mailing). You can reasonably predict what your control mailing will do, so you know exactly how much better your new mailing will do. By testing you try to improve or beat your control mailing (‘beat the control’).
The great thing about email marketing is that you get results almost immediately. Test two subject lines on a small part of your file then use the subject line with the best open rate for the rest of the file.
Chances are that the most attractive opening lines for an email is also the most attractive phrase for your envelope. The subject line of an email is basically what the envelope text is for a direct mailing. E-mail is much cheaper to test.
For all fundraisers we have created the book ’99 tips for more donations’. It is full of tips that can be directly integrated into your fundraising strategy.
Mindwize has more than 25 years’ experience in recruiting donors for foundations, through direct mail as well as other dialogue marketing techniques such as e-mail and landing pages. During this time we have sent over 400 million direct mailings and learned a great deal in the process. We understand the techniques
needed to increase the response rate in both small or large amounts.
We have selected 99 tips (with an extra 10) for direct mail, and landing pages that can be used immediately!
We hope these tips will help you in your daily work and increase the response rate on your next fundraising activity.