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Double Donations from Your Appeals!

CSG have an unbroken record of doubling (and even tripling) donations with CSG produced appeals campaigns versus those produced by a charity’s own marketing team. These results have been tracked, tested and compared against internally produced campaigns across multiple charities, over multi-years and the results have remained consistent throughout Covid and recent economic challenges. These appeals campaigns have helped bring in significant increases in NET unrestricted income for our charity clients supporting them on their financial sustainability.

Many charities’ marketing teams are comprised of generalist communications or marketing staff, whilst an appeals mailing campaign is a Direct Marketing specialisation with specific methodologies and expertise requirements. CSG have used our expertise to conceptualise, copy write, design and inform using data analytics to significantly increase the performance of appeals campaigns. These appeals have heightened engagement with donors, resulting in greater donor loyalty and engagement with the charity’s cause, enabling more programs and beneficiaries to be helped and funded.

Many charities have followed overall marketing trends and cost reductions pressures by focusing on shifting their marketing heavily to digital channels to promote and engage with their donors. However, it is well documented that digital channels response rates are overall lower than those marketing channels which utilizes physical forms, such as direct mail. So in the pursuit of greater cost savings using purely digital campaigns, the performance margins that printed promotions brings with them have been sacrificed. This results in an overall net reduction in donations to the charity as the costs savings brought on by going digital cannot offset the performance and income lost from abandoning the printed materials/channels.

Whilst digital is indeed an important channel, CSG’s advice has always been to go multi-channel and diversify your fundraising/marketing mix – and not to abandon existing channels like direct mail, but supplementing them with digital channels instead. In this way, organisations build on top of their existing donation streams rather than try to shift existing donors onto a purely digital channel for cost saving reasons. Many times this shift does not work as donor behaviours are not easily changed, resulting in loss of donations.

For charities without a historical base of direct mail acquired donors, the advice still stands - diversify your investment in fundraising into both mailing and digital channels. The rationale for this is sound as digital media platforms are limited to the few dominant monopolistic social media platforms e.g. Facebook, meaning the cost of digital marketing will only ever increase – which will result in continuously decreasing ROI for digital marketing promotions. Comparatively direct mail channels are cheap, which increases their ROI for any campaigns that charities run provided the appropriate expertise in the production is utilized. Putting all your eggs in one basket - albeit a digital one - is still a bad strategy for any charity in managing their fundraising risks.

Covid 19 has made real the consequences to charities of not diversifying fundraising channels. Events were made impossible during social distancing, causing donations from events to vanish – moving events online has not been the saviour it was made out to be either... a good example of where donor behaviours cannot be easily changed. Street fundraising is similarly impacted, as social distancing will continue to be a reality for the foreseeable future and impact its ongoing performance.

Most charities have pivoted to reach out to Foundations and Corporates in response, but as all charities reacted in the same way, Foundations and Corporates saw applications for their grants increase dramatically which reduced the success rate for each applicant charity. This naturally leaves digital and mailing channels left for charities to explore, with the provisos on putting all your proverbial eggs in the digital basket as highlighted above.

To find out more on how you can double your existing donations from your appeals mailing program or how you can start building out your donor portfolio to include mail and digitally acquired donors, contact CSG by emailing us at: rodney@csgcatalyst.com


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