So, about the meal offer…

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In my last email – you know, the one with the provocative title – I discussed whether it was time to move beyond the meal offer.

You’ll remember that I reviewed the history of the meal offer and its successful run at raising money in the rescue mission world.
I also discussed the possibility that this strategy may be getting a little stale and how we need to adapt to a rapidly changing fundraising landscape.

So, if we move beyond the meal offer, what does that look like?

First, let me clarify what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t mean that we completely stop talking about meals. As I mentioned previously, we don’t want to walk completely away from the meal offer because it does have some benefits, especially when dealing with older donors.

It also doesn’t mean making abrupt, reckless changes to cultivation campaigns, especially important ones like Easter or Thanksgiving. We want to be forward-thinking, not suicidal!

Besides, your current donors are still giving to the meal offer because that’s probably the ask that was used to acquire them in the first place.

So, with that said, what does moving beyond the meal offer look like?

For starters, it looks like testing new approaches to acquiring new donors and reacquiring lapsed donors. After all, if they’re not responding to the meal offer after repeated attempts, why not try something new?

You’ve probably heard the joke about the definition of insanity. You know, the one about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? If acquisition campaigns have declined year after year, perhaps it’s because we keep approaching prospects year after year with the exact same ask.

So, during acquisition campaigns, let’s test other giving options – things like recovery, shelter, or education – alongside meals. Again, we don’t want to get crazy and throw out meals altogether. But why not do some tests to see what we might learn, especially about attracting younger prospects?

Moving beyond the meal ask also looks like testing new offers through social media ads to see what we might learn. After all, most rescue mission social media ads use the meal offer year-round. So, why not test two or more different asks to see what we might learn, especially when testing is even easier with social media?

And finally, it looks like analyzing new donor data to learn more about how people are responding to acquisition campaigns. For example, when we send out an acquisition mailing to prospects and we encourage them to give online, do we know how many of them are actually doing that?
Because, what if prospects are

doing what we’re asking them to do?

By doing a match-back and analyzing how many first-time (or reacquired) online donors also received one of our acquisition pieces, we can get a better view of what’s working with acquisition campaigns.
This is key, because the accepted wisdom today in the rescue mission world is that acquisition campaigns are a losing venture. But are they? After analyzing the giving data and doing the match-backs for online gifts, receipts, and white mail, we at Delia Martín know that our mission partners aren’t losing money on acquisition campaigns.

They’re making money.

That’s enough for now. In my next email I’ll go into more detail about match-backs and what all we’ve learned from going through this process with our mission partners.

Until next time!

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