13 proven ways to improve your charity DM

1. MAKE IT PERSONAL: Outer Personalisation Increases Response!

In our repeated tests, a personalised message on the outer was proven to increase response by up to 12%.

2.GO BIG: C4+Stamp beats C5 PPI!

Going big makes a big difference to your results – our C4 versus C5 pack test found the bigger pack with a stamp increased response by 40%.

3. AIM HIGH: A high-value pack to a standard-value audience increases response!

When we sent a high-value pack to a standard-value audience, the response rate increased by a staggering 29%!

4. NEVER PUNCH BELOW YOUR WEIGHT: A standard-value pack to a high-value audience decreases response!

Doing the reverse – sending a standard-value pack to a high-value audience – decreases response.

5. ADD MORE STUFF: Additional lifts mean additional responses!

In tests, including an additional lift element increased the response rate by 31% – adding a little more to your pack can go a long way!

6. CAST YOUR NET LOW AND WIDE: Lower asks increase response rate!

When one of our clients gave us the challenge of declining response rates to their warm appeals, we tested a change in ask. Instead of asking for their last gift + 25% we asked for the equivalent of their last gift given. This increased the response rate by 16.7%

7. BE CONSISTENT: Asking for the same amount over and over again increases response rate!

It’s tempting to add larger asks through your pack but when we tested, we found a single ask throughout the pack – equivalent to the last gift given – it increased the response rate significantly.

8. RG COULD COST YOU: Regular Giving Conversion reduces income in the short term so make sure it’s worth it.

Charities are keen to convert donors into regular givers, and we can see why. But when we conducted a test on conversion, we discovered it took two years of regular giving income to make up the lost cash from a single appeal.

9. HEAD CAN WIN OVER HEART: A ‘Rational’ approach to regular giving conversion increases response rate.

When we tested two approaches – rational versus emotional – for a regular giving appeal, the rational approach significantly improved response. Give people a good, sound reason for giving every month!

10. GIVE DONORS SOMETHING TO AIM FOR: Referencing the fundraising target may increase response

When we tested including a fundraising target, we found it increased response slightly. It makes sense to us to give donors a real target if you can – tests are continuing and we’ll keep you updated on our findings…

11. DON’T AIM TOO LOW: Including very low asks may not increase response rate

While lower asks increase responses, when we tested the line ‘Even £1 will make a difference’, it only marginally increased response rate. Be wary of aiming too low!

12. WHAT’S IN A NAME? NOT MUCH: A signatory test alone didn’t have any impact on response

Suitable signatories for fundraising packs are often debated at length. We decided to test the power of the signatory alone by sending half the donor base a letter signed by the CEO of the charity, and the other the same letter signed by the UK Manager. There was no difference in the response rate.

13. DONORS LOVE FREE STUFF: Christmas cards, stickers and other incentives uplift response

Charities often worry about the perception of wasting money – will their donors think the pack is too expensive or too stuffed with free cards or stickers? The reality is, test after test has found incentives uplift response.

At On Agency, we’re always testing, investigating and evaluating to find the most successful techniques and approaches in charity fundraising. If you’d like to know more about the data and insights behind each of these tests or any more, talk to our Data Manager, [Danny Stenning-West].