Following the year-end crush of fundraising, giving and buying, you may have heard from a few of your donors (supporters) who were not so happy with so much mail … or email… or calls. Let’s say they were disgruntled. Your first thought may be to apologize for the intrusion on their holiday fun and rethink every strategy you employed the last three months. Well, hold that thought and action.
CCAH Blog: Industry Voices
By Emily Lauten, Interactive Department | Feel like you’ve tried every test under the sun? Looking for new fundraising tests that actually provide donor insights? Look to decision science. Fundamentally, decision science is the study of how and why people make the choices they do. CCAH’s journey into the world of decision science was spawned by Dave Acup, Managing Director of Interactive Marketing & Membership at Environmental Defense Fund. EDF was interested in looking at the root of why people make choices, and that interest has helped us know what kinds of test to administer. What do we test? How do we innovate?
1. Cultivating your base
2. Gathering information, and
3. Educating participants about your efforts.
The best part – they work in the mail, on the phone, and online.
But, before you sit down to write the questions you must consider your goals. Set expectations up front and explain to participants why you are doing a survey, what type of questions to expect, and how the information will be used. It also helps to set a deadline for when the responses are due.
The Questions - Asking the right questions is the key to success. Here are a few tips.
• Try to avoid open-ended questions. While they may provide interesting insights they can be difficult to analyze and quantify. They also require more work for the user – which may decrease the likelihood of responding.
• How many questions? The respondents’ willingness to complete questions will depend on how closely they are connected to your organization and cause, how interesting and engaging the questions are, and how easy it is to move through the questions. To draw a line in the sand, for the purposes of surveys we recommend 5-12 questions.
• Keep It Clear. Numerous response options and complex directions can be confusing to the user. If responding to a survey makes your audience anxious, they may decide to quit half way through the survey.
• Fair & Balanced. To ensure the integrity of the information you gather, be sure to provide balanced response options. For example, these response options skew positive “Excellent, Good, So So” while a more balanced design would be “Good, So So, Poor.” Leading questions that only provide one alternative for consideration or assume a particular response will also skew results.
Beware that the order of responses can also introduce a bias. First responses, especially in a drop down menu, or default options, can unconsciously steer responders.
• The order of questions. To maximize your response rates, begin with easy questions and then move to progressively more complex ones to prime your respondents and get them more invested in the process of taking the survey.
After the Survey
All too often, survey findings are relegated to collecting dust. How you plan to use the information should be a part of your goal setting process. Here are a few tips to evaluate results and map out the next steps:
- In order to turn data into actionable information, first review findings. Do some simple cross tabulations and if possible a deeper statistical analysis.
- After you’ve mapped out next steps, add to your calendar a date to revisit the findings and how they are used a month from now or at a later date.
- Share what you’ve found with colleagues. In addition to the numbers, be sure to share some of the key insights and how you plan to use them in the future.
By Lynn Waller, Vice President of Client Services
By Joanne Wilson, Account Executive, Interactive Department
My phone always seems to be ringing! And truth be told, I actually like getting the phone calls – I always have. It’s the fastest way to get a hold of me. You have my attention. And if it is a fundraising call, the right caller will engage me in a conversation that answers my questions about what the organizations I support are doing right now.
It often surprises many organizations to discover how many of their donors – like me – enjoy getting that phone call. Especially when they learn that reinstatement telemarketing can be a cost-effective way of reaching lapsed donors and making them fall in love with their organization all over again.
Donor loyalty is always a top priority, and knowing the best ways to connect with your supporters is vital to the success of any fundraising campaign. CCAH invites you to hear the best tips directly from the professionals at the 7th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference.
by Kelly Potchak, Writer
It was the day after Christmas, and in a gross lapse in judgment, I had worn a wool sweater to a festive gathering. At this gathering, I was meeting my boyfriend’s family – his rather conservative family – for the first time.
Class warfare isn’t the sole province of news pundits. In his article CCAH’s Lon Chapman examines how socio-economic adjustments are altering the direct mail marketing industry.