ZIP Model Passes Targeting Test for ACLU

WASHINGTON, DC — Through in-depth file analysis, the American Civil Liberties Union learned that 7 percent of U.S. ZIP codes hold 50 percent of its donors and generate 71 percent of its revenue, according to a session speaker here yesterday at the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation's 2003 Washington Nonprofit Conference.

Prior to analyzing its file, the ACLU faced decreasing response rates, limited prospecting lists, limited testing success in new list markets and no data on the lifetime value of its donors, director of development Donna McKay said.

“We wanted to create a more integrated marketing strategy,” she said.

Doing its own analysis was the way to go, as the organization does not append data to its file because of its privacy policies.

Based on the analysis the ACLU did last year, the group built a ZIP code model to better target prospective donors. In an October test, 37 of 39 prospecting lists performed better when the ZIP model was used.

Though those lists were files the organization already was using, McKay said, the ZIP model had other potential uses for the ACLU. Plans include using the model to revisit lists the organization had rejected in the past due to performance as well as exploring new lists.

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