Case Study: Lifestyle Data Lifts Gift Size for Heifer International

So, in addition to spending 1.5 years gaining a better understanding of the donors in its database, Michael says the deep dive allowed Heifer to target better messaging to the “sustainers” most likely to yield larger gifts. Plus, targeting only that group helped reduce marketing costs. While Acxiom helped Heifer find out who the sustainers were based on demographics (age, income and net worth) and transactional data (recency, frequency and monetary amount), it may have been the emotional connection based on interests that helped Heifer create messaging that really made the difference.

Knowing, for instance, that the best donors tended to be interested in environmental causes, art, coin collecting, keeping houseplants alive and eating organic food helped Heifer know which of its missions to detail. “Heifer’s story is very moving,” Michael says. So what’s more important to this donor? Is it women’s empowerment that happens when they can provide for their families by caring for livestock donated through Heifer? Or is it stories about the animals themselves, like the llamas raised for their wool?

Michael says Heifer will now use the concept of donor motivations on its entire file—with added insight from self-declared interests in givers’ survey responses to guide the creative in fundraising messages.

“We definitely saw a one-plus-one-equals-three” effect from adding hobbies and lifestyle information to regular data, DiCesare concludes.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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