A lesson from the for-profit world: Years ago the business world discovered that it was easier, less-expensive and frequently more profitable to sell additional products (cross-sell) or higher-end products (up-sell) to existing customers than to constantly spend scarce time and money going after new customers. Not that new customers are bad; we all need them. But, let’s be honest, to get new customers/donors/constituents one must first tap them on the shoulder to get their attention. Then, after you have their attention you have to start at square-one by explaining who you are, what you stand for and what you do. Then you can begin to persuade them of the value of your product, idea or service.
The constituents already in your database are a totally different story. These are people who have donated money, signed a petition, circulated a pledge or in some other way interacted with the mission of your organization. Wow! By their actions they have demonstrated at least a basic understanding of you and they’ve shown that they value your mission. These people have said, “I’m with you!” When you talk to these constituents you don’t have to start at square-one. Sadly, many organizations fail to retain these individuals because they don’t take the proper steps to understand them and grow their involvement with the organization.
Actions speak louder than words. By mining your donor database you’ll discover what your existing constituents are hoping for in their relationship with you. Does your organization know what the Life Time Value (LTV) is of the various segments of your database? Does your organization know how long that Life Time (LT) is by segment? An organization with a short LT in its high-value segment may wish to consider changes to how they communicate with these valuable individuals. Consider overlaying your database with birth date, gender, education, social media, income and other related data points; and your organization could be mining donor gold.