60% of Success is in the List
Every well-conceived direct response campaign has gross income, cost, and net revenue projections. Selecting a list of donors whose performance history, affinity for your organization, and active status allow you to meet those goals is the first key to success.
As simple as this may sound, getting the list wrong is probably the most common direct marketing mistake organizations make. If you are mailing to a list that lacks the interest or the means to accept your offer, nothing else really matters.
30% of Success is in the Offer
What are you asking the fundraising prospect or donor to do? Join, renew, make a special gift, sign a petition, donate to receive a tote bag?
Giving donors the right offer at the right time is three times as important as the creative. Why? Because donors give when you give them a good reason (offer) to give.
Take a look at your Renewal #1 control package. Is it a winner because the copy and art are perfect, or is it a winner because you ask donors to renew when it is the appropriate time for them to do so?
10% of Success is in the Creative
I know creative is the fun part, and, for too many organizations, it is the primary area of focus in their direct response program. If you have a good team or agency who can manage list and offer, then no problem. But if you don’t, and you are overly focused on the creative without devoting sufficient time to list and offer, you are probably falling short of your income goals.
Does that mean you can be sloppy in your creative, off message, offer a lot of rhetoric and no substance, forget to thank the donor? Of course not. But it does mean that without the right list and offer the hours you devote to perfecting the creative will never pay off.