Sunrise Children’s Services helps abused and neglected children in its home state of Kentucky and beyond. Its ultimate goal, says Bo Lanter, national advancement director and major gifts officer, “is to be the St. Jude’s of children’s services.” Providing such important services requires money, of course, so about a year ago, Sunrise turned to Bluegrass Integrated Communications to help with fundraising.
Sunrise Children’s Services realized that if its donations are to grow, it has to have more new donors. We advised the nonprofit on how to grow its donor list.
When you look for new donors, it’s crucial that you study your current ones. People who have traits and interests like those who support your organization now are most likely to become your new donors. This analysis of current donors is called a demographic overlay.
Donors are analyzed based on a lot of different things: their age, the value and type of home where they live, the nonprofits they already support, what they buy via mail order, their marital status, whether they own pets, their household income and their interests and hobbies. As you can imagine, there are several hundred different factors we can look at in the analysis.
Bluegrass does the legwork in the search for new donors. Our staff meet with clients like Lanter several times to collect information and ask questions; they might even follow up with a couple of phone calls, but the time spent on the client’s end is minimal. After we have the demographic info about current donors in hand, we use it to buy mailing lists of people who are similar to our clients’ donor profiles. Those lists are then used to send fundraising appeals.
Lanter wasn’t surprised by what we found when we studied Sunrise Children’s Services donors. “It substantiated what we thought; we had a pretty good idea of who our donors were. But, Julie, from Bluegrass, definitely identified it and fine-tuned it. As we do mailings and get suggestions from Bluegrass, we are continuing to get more pinpointed as to how we do our mailings.”
That’s exactly what we hope our clients will do. It makes their mailings more effective and saves money in the long run, because they aren’t chasing people who aren’t likely to give to their cause.
As a faith-based nonprofit, Sunrise Children’s Service’s spends its money carefully, where it makes the most positive impact. “It is critical that we manage our advertising dollars the right way and target the right markets and get our message across,” said Lanter. “We got good results for our marketing as the donated dollars went up compared to the cost of the mailings. We must continue to pinpoint the best opportunities to spend the dollars.”
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