One key way to maximize Long-Term Donor Value in your direct response program is to ensure that each time you make an ask, you’re asking every donor for the most appropriate gift amount.

You’re probably already doing that, right? 

I’m sure when you acquire a donor who gives an initial gift of $20, you probably have an upgrade strategy to move that donor from $20 at the point of acquisition to $30, $45, maybe even $50 over a series of 3-5 additional solicitations.  Right? 

After all, getting a donor to double her average gift would be a huge win, wouldn’t it?  I couldn’t agree more!

But . . . (yeah, there’s a but) . . .

What if you knew something more about this donor?  What if you knew this donor who was giving you $20 whenever you asked was actually quite wealthy?  Would that change your strategy?

It sure would change my strategy! 

Knowing this type of information means you can begin to solicit much more significant gifts from this donor.  In the mail it might mean that you ask this donor for a significant stretch gift, or that instead of asking for a specific amount, you use an open ask (which typically produces a higher average gift from affluent donors).  It should also drive you to change up the format of mailings that this particular donor receives from your organization.

And more importantly, it helps you to prioritize which donors warrant a more personalized strategy.  Better targeted and more personalized cultivation strategy is sure to lead to increased giving – and unlimited potential for your organization!

We’ve recently been helping a number of clients develop a more strategic approach to upgrading wealthy donors who have historically given low dollar gifts.  This means that in addition to standard RFM (recency, frequency and monetary amount) segmentation, we’re adding other data that allows us to have a more fully developed picture of each donor.  And it means we get a much more accurate picture of each donor’s true giving capacity.

The results have been staggering — to the tune of $300,000 – $1 million in additional income for these organizaitons!