Numbers Never Lie

9 tips on testing your fundraising campaign

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:

1. Test to eliminate gut-feeling

“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.

2. Test one thing at a time

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…

3. Test to predict

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.

4. Test with sufficient numbers

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’.

5. Reuse an old successful mailing

Get a successful package from a few years ago, update it and send it. You will be amazed…

6. Save your test results

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.

7. Stick with your control mailing

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’).

8. Test your subject line before your roll-out

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.

9. Use the results of the test for your direct mail

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.

Tips for more donations

Based on our 30 years of experience, we have written a practical guide for fundraisers: ’99 Tips for more Donations’. We explain clearly which techniques positively influence the response.

Download our 99 tips and read more about:

99 tips for more donations

  • Tips for a successful newsletter
  • Tips for creating a good story
  • Tips for testing your fundraising program
  • Tips for an envelope

And much more…

99 tips for more donations

This book is a practical guide for all fundraisers. Download the book and apply the tips today!

Download the book

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