“Donors don’t want to hear about the economic situation. What they do want to know is are the adoptions down? … The baby boomers are very analytical. They almost look at their contributions as an investment and want to know that ‘Yes, if I give an extra $10, there really is a need,’” she adds.
Perfed to the bottom of the letter is the reply form, which also does not miss the opportunity to display more cute animals. The form includes three ask amounts based on donors’ prior giving life cycles as well as a blank field where donors can write in the amount they’d like to give.
Grizzard and The Humane Society of Fairfax County did match panels of 35,000 in April 2007 to test this piece against a decal control. Last year, it resulted in a 7 percent response rate and a $27 average gift, which Howard says is “pretty good for April.” It was rolled out in 2008 as the control as one of 10 donor appeals The Humane Society mails each year and is performing well.
That doesn’t mean Grizzard and the animal welfare organization, however, are standing pat. For each campaign, they update the stories of the animals. Just recently, Grizzard did tests using just a dog story or just a cat story versus including both. “We found that [in] the initial results, the dog story has pulled higher than the cat story, [but] we’re going to do some back-end analysis to determine the details,” explains Howard.
The tests will continue to come, as Grizzard plans to test note cards in a #9 envelope for lapsed donors in March, and tweaks to the April mailing are always in the works. But this control has been strong, even without offering a premium. “It’s kind of strange—we know that premiums typically will yield a higher percentage. We are always testing to try to have the donors be more involved in the mission-based as opposed to the premium-based. It was nice to see this was happening here. I’m glad it’s working on the mission and not so much a premium,” Howard concludes. IDM