How to run your cultivation and acquisition mail in one easy project

Yesterday we talked about the importance of looking at the results of direct mail donor cultivation and acquisition as separate activities.

The two projects can be almost entirely the same: Creative and production-wise, you can do them together to save time and improve your economy of scale.

Here are the main differences:

  • Introduction. Most of your donors have heard of your organization and have some idea what you do. You can’t count on nondonors having that knowledge. So for acquisition, you should make sure there’s something about what your organization is about and why that’s of interest to them. This can be within your letter and/or other places. For cultivation, this may not be necessary, but it certainly isn’t harmful. So introducing yourself might be something you do in both project. Just be sure it’s in the acquisition version.
  • Ask amounts. You have a very key piece of information on all donors: How much they’ve given you. You have nothing on that with nondonors. That means cultivation projects should have ask amounts that are in the range of what they’ve given — and find a way to make that amount different for different donors. For acquisition, you only need an educated guess on how much that is .
  • Donor data. You have other information about donors beyond donation amounts. Most importantly, their names. You can be reasonably sure you have that right. With some sources of nondonor names, the name can be anything from untrustworthy to nonexistent. That’s why there are many situations when it’s better to address nondonors was Friend, Neighbor, or something else. You also have information on what donors have responded to, and that may be worth making part of your message.

There are other potential differences, but most of them are not that important. (I’d love to hear from you if you have had success with other ways to differentiate donors from nondonors in messaging.)


Comments

4 responses to “How to run your cultivation and acquisition mail in one easy project”

  1. Mark Laskowski Avatar
    Mark Laskowski

    “Londoners”?

  2. Mark Laskowski Avatar
    Mark Laskowski

    “Londoners”?

  3. That should be nondonors, thank you spell-check. Londoners would be a whole other type of segmentation!

  4. That should be nondonors, thank you spell-check. Londoners would be a whole other type of segmentation!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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