List View: Make Advocacy Lists Work
What are they responding to? Ask the list manager directly, “Would this work for my offer?” He or she should know and give you the insight you need to minimize the risk to your mailer.
• Why should you test them? Many of these groups will be unrecognizable by name. Don’t discount lists that have statements for titles. Things like “Citizens for …”, “Compassionate This” or “Fighters for That.” The list owners often have a heightened sense of privacy. If you don’t know, ask. A routine faxed sample and count request isn’t going to cut it.
• Why should you mail them? It’s a veritable bed of untapped responsive names, a captured audience at your fingertips. It then becomes more a matter of volume and pricing. In its own market, the advocacy donor name is priced at $130/M, on average. But a completely noncompetitive mailer should get a much better price (the revenue is welcome to a 501C4), so the test becomes worthwhile to all.
Never forget, these folks are opening up their wallets, repeatedly, without any write off, immediate gratification or product being shipped. There is no tax deduction, and no labels or greeting cards. More work generally is requested—surveys to be filled out, ballots to be cast, and responses to be voiced and tallied. These folks have a real interaction with their mail.
• How to test the “issue” donor? First, skip the natural tendency toward a hotline mentality. Remember, they didn’t just buy something; they gave. And chances are they gave a month ago and the month before that and the month before that. These donors, as I mentioned, are getting mail all the time. Asking just for the donor who gave this month could mean you’re minimizing your performance potential and also minimizing your rollout potential.