When a donor gives, do you suppress them for a while from getting asked for awhile? After all, someone who's just given is momentarily tapped out and will be annoyed if you ask them again too soon. Right?
Peter Schoewe answers the question Should recent donors be mailed or suppressed? in Mal Warwick's E-Newsletter (subscribe here).
Contrary to common sense, the most recent donors almost always respond at the highest rate. In fact, donors who gave their last gift in the past three months can respond at double or triple the rate of donors who haven't given in over six months. . . .
And this isn't only true of those donors who support your cause with gifts of $10 or $15. A quick way to knock a large portion of the net revenue out of your direct mail program is to mail your high-value donors less frequently than your low-value donors.
Conventional wisdom says giving is a limited resource, like a slow-growing forest -- if you ask too quickly, you'll "over-harvest" and end up with nothing. Sounds good, but it's simply not true.
We've looked at the numbers here at Merkle|Domain, and here's what subsequent giving looks like:
The X-axis is the percentage of donors giving a second gift after their first gift to an organization. The Y-axis is the number of months after the first gift that they gave the second gift. (Third and subsequent gifts aren't factored here.) Note how high the rate of giving is just one month after the first gift. And it doesn't really drop off until after four months.
Chances are if you're suppressing mail to recent donors, you're simply missing the time they're most likely to give again. You're basically waiting until their passion cools before going back to them. Smart, huh?
If your conventional wisdom tells you that giving hurts and asking is annoying, you need to replace it with the fact:
- Giving feels good.
- For most donors, asking is part of a welcome conversation.
- Donors want to make a difference, and you help them do it.
- Donors want to be needed.
Make this your new conventional wisdom, and you'll do well.
Technorati Tag: donor psychology