This article was featured as the cover article in the January 2013 issue of Journal (of the DMA Nonprofit Federation.) Download a PDF of the article as it appeared in the magazine.
Our ground-breaking study uncovered how donors are using the options given to them.
Once upon a time, donors knew how to behave. When asked to write out and send in a check, many did. When we called them, many dutifully pulled out their credit cards. Or when told to phone in a pledge of support, they responded. Those were the days…
Luckily, those days aren’t quite gone. But a recent study of over 8 million philanthropic transactions and mail records over the past 5 years uncovered some useful donor behavior that confirms that donors’ “traditional” relationship with the organizations they support may be a thing of the past.
Response rates not looking so good (or so you think)?
Like many organizations, you’re probably tallying results to your last mailing. How did it do? Chances are your response rates are either flat or declining. A lot of organizations have seen a drop of as much as 20% over the last 5 years.
But there may be a flaw in how you’ve been looking at responses. That number might only count donors who’ve responded the “old fashioned” way – by completing the reply form, writing a check, sealing the reply envelope, affixing a stamp and mailing it back in. You’re not to blame – that’s the way response rates have always been calculated. (Read on …)