Testing is essential to a healthy acquisition program, from finding lists that make up the core of your campaigns, to identifying which packages work best for these lists. Just like various packages perform better at different times of year, such as calendars in the fall or holiday messaging at year-end, there is an aspect of seasonality to the overall acquisition program. Some seasons just work better for certain organizations and markets! For example, many hospitals have a tendency to mail more acquisition in Spring and Fall because they over the years, these are the strongest months for new donor recruitment.
Finding that winning combination of the best season and the right package is your key to success. Calendar premium driven campaigns are typically not mailed in the Spring because it is likely that the donor mindset is not quite ready to focus on the following year. Calendar mailings tend to be the most successful in the late Summer and Fall. If you have a strong Calendar package and a robust program but aren’t seeing desired results, it is worth testing a different month or season.
It is also important to consider what other organizations are mailing and when – if the majority of other organizations in your market are mailing premium packages during a given season, a non-premium package a non-premium package may not be able to compete against “free stuff” and therefore not perform as well. There are several advantages to being aware of your organization's seasonality, the most important being getting the very best results possible from you acquisition campaigns.
Knowing when you are likely to get the best results will also help you to get the best bang for your buck by avoiding historically unsuccessful times of year. Once you’ve identified when you are seeing the strongest results, specific packages can be developed and tested to better boost acquisition performance.
Although there are some standards of seasonality in the industry, each organization has unique aspects to its target audience, messaging, and timing. The key to finding your season is test, test, test!