Hospice's segmentation leads to more relevant appeals

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Hospice's segmentation leads to more relevant appeals
Hospice's segmentation leads to more relevant appeals

Client: Capital Hospice


Reduce costs by segmenting donors efficiently and creating targeted appeals while meeting fundraising goals.

Capital Hospice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit providing end-of-life care, wanted to create fundraising appeals that would attract larger gifts, while 
cutting back on mailing costs. DirectMail.com worked with Capital Hospice to define list selects and analyze appeal copy, first by segmenting the nonprofit's donor file. 

STRATEGY: The agency used its analytics to generate a file with 400 distinct data points, including household income and donation base, that could be segmented into up to 60 clusters; it did similar work on the prospects file for donor acquisition. With the donor base segmented, DirectMail.com then focused on creating multiple appeals to the various segments. 

"A one-size-fits-all approach really leaves a lot on the table," says Price Anderson, VP of sales and marketing at the agency. "We know 400 things about them, and the key is how we use those 400 things." 

The messages were true-life stories about how Capital Hospice, the tenth-largest facility in the country, helped people in need, says Penelope Welch, certified fundraising executive and director of the group's annual fund. Its annual holiday appeal, seeking memorial donations, turned from "a four-page yackety-yackety" into a one-page, "spirited tribute" with a reply card asking for memorial donations, she says. The message was also consistent, versus earlier efforts, which had used different writers and themes without any continuity, adds Welch. 

A team approach was particularly important to execute this strategy, says both the agency and client. With all the functions under the same team, they were able to handle 
the campaign more effectively, says Kirk Swain, principal 
of DirectMail.com.

RESULTS: The strategy reduced acquisition mail by about 100,000 pieces, half as many as before, saving nearly $150,000. Despite mailing less, Capital Hospice met its annual direct-mail fundraising target of $1 million in revenue. It also reduced its direct mail costs by about 25%, and increased the average gift amount by 20.37% to $72.22 from $60.

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