Frequency of Donor Appeals

Lapsed donors with smaller average gifts are concerned about the ministry’s follow-up with them when they give a sizable contribution. Their priority: don’t start sending me more frequnt appeals simply because I gave a bigger gift. (Larger donors aren’t as sensitive to frequency of appeals — which contradicts many ministries’ mailing schedule strategy. Larger donors are often asked less often, while the data shows that lower donors are the ones who probably should be asked less often!) To lower-end donors in particular, frequent appeals (and more expensive-looking packages) signal higher administrative expense (read: waste) — which is likely to turn them off and drive them to donate elsewhere.

In any case, the data reveals that donors on the low end of the average-gift scale should probably receive fewer appeals — but appeals frequently targeted, if at all possible, to aspects of the ministry in which the donor has demonstrated an interest through her giving in the past. The data suggests that some organizations may gain the highest return on investment from a low-end mailing schedule of monthly “ministry letters” (as opposed to appeal letters) and only quarterly campaign-related appeal letters. It’s worth testing.

* Like what you just read and want to learn more? Check out, The Disappearing Donor: Where Your Ministry’s Lapsed Givers Went, and Why. Or, send me an email.


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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