Direct-response fundraisers: only the resolute need apply

The KMA whitemail experiment epilogue

All fundraising results are highly measurable but no one is easier to scrutinize than direct response marketers. My hat is off to you.

The KMA Whitemail Experiment tally

An instructive project but thin data to talk about multi-channel integration

The KMA whitemail experiment began on November 18, 2013 when I mailed cheques for $100 to eight charities, and made $100 online donations to four more – all to charities to which I’d ​never before given, and which have never been clients. I wanted to see what would happen next.

You can read the early posts starting here:  http://www.kmaconsultants.ca/blog/welcome-white-mail-experiment

What comes second matters most

Seeking the elusive second gift

In direct response fundraising, it’s axiomatic that the second gift is more important than the first. By some industry reports, as many as two-thirds of people who respond to a solicitation and make a first-time gift to an organization never make a second gift.

Ah, a warm business-like welcome

A gift from a first-time donor to most charities sets in motion a process that should be more or less automatic, and ideally, well-thought out. Our KMA whitemail experiment produced very uneven welcomes.

(In the table below I have compiled the responses.)

But rather than complain about lackluster responses, I am focusing on four that stood out.

The top of the heap for me was the major Canadian university. You can read about that here.

Missing in action

Instead of marveling at how much mail we generated with our whitemail experiment, I am struck by how modest the volume is. I’m particularly curious about the four organizations (of 12 original donations) who made only one or two contacts.

Starting up is hard to do

From the small medical research charity I received two responses a month after I mailed the cheque (not bad, given the time of year and the geography.) One envelope contained a receipt; the other a holiday greeting card. Nothing since.

Honestly, I thought there'd be more

On November 18, 2013 I mailed cheques for $100 to eight charities, and made $100 online donations to four more – all to charities to which I’d ​never before given, and which have never been clients. I wanted to see what would happen next.

“I’m just calling to say thank you.”

The call-display screen listed a major Canadian educational institution (not in Ontario.) I recognized it as one of the involuntary participants in our white mail experiment and picked up to hear a young female. “Krista” was calling to thank me for my donation.

30 e-mails in 45 days from 1 charity: seems like a lot to me

I’ve started analyzing the responses received from the 12 unsolicited donations I made to various charities with which I’ve had no prior dealings. The beginning of this experiment is described in blog post of Nov. 27 (here). http://www.kmaconsultants.ca/blog/welcome-white-mail-experiment

WELCOME TO THE WHITE MAIL EXPERIMENT

I’ve written a lot of direct response mailings. Particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, I generated appeals and collateral for medical agencies, political parties, advocacy groups, social service, religious and international aid groups.