Incremental Gains Are Not Enough
Few things are more valuable to a direct response program than control packages. They deliver predictable results mailing after mailing, allowing fundraisers to accurately project and deliver income.
Many mature direct response programs rely on control packages in their acquisition, renewal, and appeal programs. In most cases the controls have been in place for years and are generally presumed to be unbeatable.
Rather than focus on establishing new control packages, organizations tend to focus their time, attention, and valuable testing dollars in search of incremental gains from existing packages.
While this is the “safest” approach since it limits risk to overall income, it tends to result in stagnating income growth, especially in a difficult economy where incremental income gains barely cover the inevitable decrease in donor retention.
Rather than focusing on how to make an established control work a little bit better, fundraisers should focus on what makes the control work (e.g., message, issue positioning, timing) and look to develop new packages that significantly increase revenues, improve retention, and drive significant income growth.
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