Tests You Should Be Running to Improve Fundraising Performance

Fundraising Direct has consistently delivered successful fundraising campaigns for its clients because every strategy is driven by data. Every strategy includes a test, every test is analyzed, and those learnings drive the next innovation.

The ‘live’ nature of fundraising provides a unique opportunity to be continuously learning and improving. You have an opportunity to be constantly studying your donors and improving their experience with your organization.

If your annual year begins July 1, here is a sample of tests we think you should be incorporating into your annual plan to maximize performance.

Timing: The ideal time to convert a cash donor to monthly giving

If you are currently planning a monthly donor conversion, make sure to include a test on the ideal time to contact a cash donor with the offering. Every organization has a sweet spot unique to their donors. The only way to find out is to split your donors and test two different timings. One factor to consider is ensuring you have an even mix of donors acquired through different channels.

Content: What programs resonate with your donors

Your organization may have 5 different showcase programs and while you need to market each, it’s imperative to identify the program that most appeals to your donors. This information should form the basis of any appeal campaign.

A simple and cost-effective strategy to test this is running multiple cash gift appeals via social media, each focusing on a different program. Keeping the design and targeting the same across the campaigns will ensure you have accurate learnings.

Stewardship: The impact of stewardship on donor retention

Reaching out to your donors on a regular basis is imperative to ensuring they remain engaged with your organization. The style and timing of that outreach should be decided on through a rigorous testing process. 

Your monthly donors can be your most valuable donor group and finding the most effective strategy to improve donor retention should be at the top of your to-do list. A simple test we recommend is to split your monthly donor cohort into two groups. Send one group a postcard every three months and the other a simple email. After 12 months, review the retention rate of each cohort and assess which level of investment and communication style had the most impact.