Use Donor Mailing Lists That You Know Work

Use Donor Mailing Lists That You Know Work

Recycling is more than turning used plastic bottles into park benches. Reusing resources is also a way to effectively recycle. For nonprofits, I suggest reusing donor mailing lists that worked well for your acquisition mailings in the past.

The key is to look back–I’m hoping you keep a record of your acquisition mailings tests and results–and see which lists delivered the largest number of acquisitions. If it has been several years since you used a list that was once effective, give it another shot.

Donor mailing lists get fatigued; give them a rest, then reuse

Here’s why. Lists always work best the first time we use them. If we keep using them, year in, year out, they get fatigued and don’t bring us many new donors. Before that happens, we need to give the list a rest.

Let’s say I buy a Special Olympics (SO) donor mailing list because my organization, like SO, is aimed at helping people overcome physical or mental obstacles and achieve great things.

I use the list for one acquisition mailing, and 30 percent of those on the list respond. We use this list, again and again, and over time, it is less effective. So we send it to the dugout, deciding it should no longer be part of our game plan.

Other organizations are always updating their donor lists

What we sometimes forget is that Special Olympics also updates and refreshes its list through acquisition mailings, so over the course of several years, it will add many new donors. If you wait several years and buy the SO list again, odds are good that you’ll get a good response because, that list has been refreshed and history has shown that your audience and Special Olympics’ audience share many charitable interests.

For successful reuse, know the history of your acquisition mailings

To do this successfully, you need to save the history of your acquisition mailings. Knowing which lists performed well for you in the past shows you which ones to use again.

If you don’t feel that you are making the most of the data from your past acquisition mailings or fundraising campaigns, give me a call and I can share ideas on how to better collect and use that data.

Interested in how Bluegrass can help?

See what we can do.

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