New Donor Acquisition for Political and Issues Fundraisers

Nothing challenges political and issue fundraisers more than the search for new donors for their organizations. In order for a non-profit to be successful its donor file must constantly be renewed with fresh new-to-file donors. Even a well-run nonprofit, one that treats its donors with respect and diligently pursues its mission, will lose 20 percent or more of its active donors each year. Without successful new donor acquisition efforts the size of a donor file would shrink to near zero within five years.  

Wiland provides several services that help political and issue fundraisers manage their greatest fundraising challenge: cost-effectively acquiring enough new donors to sustain and grow the organization. Since the early 1970s Wiland companies have specialized in answering the needs of nonprofit groups—including political committees, campaigns and highly specialized issue advocacy groups. Helping political organizations acquire new donors is a key element of the Wiland service set.  

No other company can match the depth and breadth of Wiland's capabilities or its unique dedication to identifying good donor prospects for political committees, issue advocacy groups, and candidates. Technological innovation, massive data resources and excellent analytics capabilities enable Wiland to identify prospect audiences that not only respond to acquisition efforts but also become loyal long-term donors.  

Whether the objective is to maintain your current donor file by replacing donors lost to attrition, or to increase the organization's revenue by increasing the size of the donor file, Wiland stands ready to help deliver proven, cost effective services to keep costs down and response rates up.

Wiland's Key Advantage: Unmatched Depth of Data

Wiland offers its issue and political clients a tremendous advantage: a massive database that includes more donation history on individuals than exists anywhere else, plus transactional information (billions of transactions) that reveal donor activities as consumers (the products they buy; the publications they read; and more).

Wiland offers its issue and political clients a tremendous advantage: a massive database that includes more donation history on individuals than exists anywhere else…

The Wiland cooperative database (over 2,500 participating clients) is unsurpassed in size and scope. In addition to its vast amount of transactional data, it contains demographic and psychographic data on virtually every direct responsive person in the United States, including over 70 million known donors to various nonprofit appeals. The result is a robust, 360-degree view of donor behavior that enables Wiland to create new donor acquisition audiences that precisely target the right prospects for a given organization, and to reach those audiences through a variety of marketing channels.

For direct mail and email marketing, Wiland provides the audience, and clients arrange distribution. For digital channels, Wiland Digital Solutions™ not only provides the prospect audience but also manages campaigns via the Wiland Digital Network™ harnessing the power of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and more than 30 other networks, reaching the target donor audience via digital display, online video, mobile advertising and social media.  

Wiland's Proprietary Prospect Audiences

Wiland helps political and issue advocacy groups identify and reach prospects who will not only make an initial donation but will also renew their support of the group over time. In pursuit of this goal, Wiland offers two types of donor prospect audiences; response models and profile models.

Wiland helps political and issue advocacy groups identify and reach prospects who will not only make an initial donation but will also renew their support of the group over time.

Prospect Audiences Generated by Proprietary Wiland Response Models

There are many methods for creating a predictive model, and various types of sample files are used in the associated analytical work. All of the Wiland Response Models listed below use actual new donor acquisition campaigns (for example, the net names mailed in a direct mail campaign) and the associated donors (those who gave as a result of the campaign) as the research sample. Typically at least three distinct campaigns are studied to create a single model.  

Acquisition Response Model

Draws upon all the individual donation and transactional data in the Wiland database to uncover prospects with the highest likelihood of not only responding to your promotion, but also converting to loyal donors. Driven by an analysis of net responders from past campaigns, this model is created using an advanced modeling methodology designed to produce optimal response rates.  

Comprehensive Response Model

Identifies direct mail-generated donors that possess characteristics similar to your current mail generated donors using a proprietary modeling algorithm. Validation across multiple promotions creates a stable model that identifies "pockets of success" often missed with traditional statistical techniques alone.

Long-Term Value Donor Model

Uses statistical techniques to identify those prospects whose transactional and donation history most closely matches that of your long-term donors, those who have renewed more than once. This model draws on the strength of your donor file, as well as donation and transactional history spanning the database.      

Prospect Audiences Generated by Proprietary Wiland Profile Models

Unlike response models that analyze fundraising campaigns and their associated responders, profile models analyze a donor base and identify audiences whose characteristics have a high affinity with your donors. The theory is that prospective donors who "look like" actual donors will be highly responsive. Repeated past success proves that it works.

Active Donor (Best Donor) Model

Uses advanced statistical techniques to identify prospects whose key characteristics most closely resemble those of your most recent donors. This model examines all donation and transactional activity across the database, as well as key demographic and behavioral variables, to identify donors that are most likely to be interested in your organization.

Community Depth Model

This model identifies excellent mail responsive prospects for fundraisers targeting small geographic areas such as local chapters of national organizations and other local/regional organizations. The proprietary modeling techniques prioritize cross-industry variables to identify prospects that resemble an organization's best donors, or recent responders who are most likely to donate to your organization.

List Affinity Model

Uses advanced techniques to identify the best prospects from donor lists that are highly correlated to yours. Lists are chosen based on key donor characteristics and statistically observed synergy with your donor base. A model is then developed to identify the most likely responders to your offer from within this universe of highly targeted active donors to other groups.

Comprehensive Correlation Model

Built on the same proprietary modeling platform as the Comprehensive Response Model, but uses recent new-to-file donors rather than responders as input. Donors are compared to the overall database to identify prospects whose characteristics resemble those of your newest donors. The model uses dozens of powerful variables and is validated across multiple data sets, resulting in excellent performance and stability.

In addition to these proven models, Wiland offers other highly productive donor acquisition solutions. The Wiland Integrated Performance Series™ (WIPS) uses custom algorithms that assign a composite score to each donor in the Wiland database based on ranking across multiple models, revealing an integrated universe of the most responsive names for your campaign.  

Universal Performance

Perfect for higher-volume fundraisers, Wiland builds a series of powerful models, which are brought together to identify a single universe of the very best prospect names for your donor acquisition efforts. Models are weighted by predicted performance, and donors are given a single rank based on scoring across all models—simplifying the ordering process and resulting in large, high-performing segments that are easy to test and read.  

Incremental Depth

For issue and political fundraisers already mailing large volumes from multiple Wiland models, this model ranks donors based on scoring across all models, enabling you to target incremental names that are likely to perform well. Ideal as a "best of the rest" approach to supplement your already successful Wiland models, this solution requires integration of at least three models beyond those already being used.  

Dynamic Interaction

 The clients that are most successful using Wiland audiences to acquire new donors test all of these response model types...

With this approach, we score donors in the database using two models and make selections based on the intersection of model segments. This popular selection methodology produces excellent results by enabling organizations to target their ideal audience based on two separate dependencies, such as content affinity and likelihood to respond.

All of these models rank prospects from top to bottom. The entire universe of prospects can then be divided into segments with a prediction of success score for each segment. The clients that are most successful using Wiland audiences to acquire new donors test multiple response model types, and then use them in a number of ways:    

●        Test multiple model segments to identify those that perform best.  

●        Conduct a depth test. The depth test is meant to determine just how deep into the model universe the organization can reach successfully. How deep to test? Test deep enough that if the test is successful the universe could be 50% to 100% of the organization's total new donor acquisition volume. Thus, if an organization's new donor acquisition campaign typically reaches 500,000 individuals, then the depth test would test 250,000 to 500,000 deep. Similarly, if the organization has 3,000,000 total prospects in a campaign, then the depth test would test 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 deep. An organization seeking excellent performance on large volumes would conduct a large depth test, anticipating that it will fall short of key performance metrics for success in the first test. But, despite falling short, the sizable test will create a sample file that Wiland can then use to refine the model based on the results. This can significantly improve future results, ultimately creating substantial successful volume. This "test deep and refine" methodology, for organizations who stick with it over several new donor acquisition campaigns is what leads to the largest successful volume…and thus to growth or improved performance of the donor file.  

More Solutions: Reaching Beyond Wiland's Proprietary Prospect Audiences

The methodologies and models described above all draw new donor acquisition audiences from Wiland's cooperative database, which includes virtually every direct responsive person in the United States. These audiences can be sufficient to meet the entirety of an organization's new donor acquisition needs. But sometimes clients have additional requirements for their acquisition strategies. Here are some of the additional ways Wiland develops effective new donor acquisition audiences drawn from other sources.  

Specific List Optimization

Sometimes an organization has used a list that performs marginally or inconsistently. It may be an outside list (rented or exchange). It may be a list of online inquirers, direct mail survey completers, email newsletter requestors, or Facebook "Likes". It may be donors to a sister organization, or, it may be a compiled list. Whatever the source, Wiland can optimize it by finding the responsive segments within it—and equally important—inform the organization which portions of the list would be a poor investment from a marketing ROI perspective.

Net File Optimization

Don't waste your donor prospecting budget on bad prospects just because they happen to survive the merge/purge process and thus be on your net file.

Most organizations, on some cycle, order lists or audiences from multiple sources and run a merge/purge process that results in a net file with duplicates eliminated. They send the net file to a printer (if the campaign is direct mail) or to another service provider if using email, telemarketing or digital advertising.

The net files thus created have one thing in common: they always contain individuals who do not merit the marketing investment required to promote to them. These bad prospects are all mixed in with the good ones. The portion of the net file that is not worth promoting varies widely, from a low of 5% to a high of 50% or more. 10% to 25% is typical. Wiland can separate the good from the bad, so that the marketing budget that would have been spent on people who won't respond sufficiently can be saved, falling to the bottom line, or be deployed in a more productive manner via Wiland Digital Solutions™ or some other marketing program.

Once the names have been ranked on a net file, the organization has several options: drop them, and reduce the marketing spend; drop them and replace them with higher-scoring Wiland names; redeploy the saved budget to a Wiland-managed digital campaign that reaches an even larger audience; redeploy the budget to a campaign that Wiland doesn't manage; or, some combination of these options. Regardless, the key is this: Don't waste your marketing budget on bad prospects just because they happen to survive the merge/purge process and thus be on your net file.

Balance Modeling

Sometimes, particularly in the direct mail channel, an organization needs to achieve a specific audience volume. Let's say, for example, that the organization purchased 2,000,000 envelopes and printed 2,000,000 letters and other mail package components to be inserted in the envelopes. They ordered lists that, based on experience, were expected to result in a 2,000,000-name merge/purge net file. But it doesn't turn out as expected. The merge/purge net file is significantly larger or smaller than 2,000,000. What to do?

If there are not enough names Wiland can provide "balance" names that leave campaign volume perfectly matched with available materials. If there are too many names on the merge/purge net file Wiland can optimize it (see Net File Optimization) to the specific desired quantity.

Measured Brand Advertising™

Political organizations may not think of their name, logo, and image as a brand – but it is a brand. Citizens have some level of awareness of a political organization. Awareness ranges from "highly aware" to "I've never heard of it". Citizens may also have an opinion about the organization, ranging from "they are crucial to the survival of our way of life" to "they are idiots" to "I really know nothing about them, so I don't have an opinion". Every organization would like to have more citizens who are highly aware of the organization and consider it to be very important and very effective. Unfortunately, few organizations devote time and budget specifically to developing a positive brand image. This needs to change. A better future tomorrow may depend on developing a better brand image today.

In the past, conventional wisdom has held that brand advertising for a political nonprofit organization is simply not possible; that it is too expensive, and won't pay off compared to the massive investment needed to buy television ads, newspaper ads, space ads and other mass media. Today these same viewpoints may be correct. But there is a better way. An affordable way for political organizations to build respect and support for what they do: Wiland's Measured Brand Advertising™. Every organization should use this service, even if their budget is small.

Measured Brand Advertising™ involves a combination of two factors: good content... and market connections... .

Measured Brand Advertising™ involves a combination of two factors: good content, generated by the organization and market connections, which are provided by Wiland. The organization develops the following content assets: a strong, brand enhancing landing page at their existing web site; a short, brand enhancing video about the organization, its mission, and its achievements; effective display advertisements that will appear on internet sites, mobile devices, and in the social media – but only will be seen by individuals in the target audience. This is a key point: Measured Brand Advertising is effective and affordable for a political nonprofit because it does not reach everyone, making it expensive; it reaches only a target audience comprised of the citizens with whom the organization most wants to connect. This could be a very small audience (for example, the 5,000 people in a State who are most likely to agree with and be willing to support a State public policy think tank), or it could be large (the 55% of likely voters who are most likely to vote in favor of the organization conducting the Measured Brand Advertising™ campaign. But it is never huge (everyone who lives in the United States and watches television). Looked at differently, Measured Brand Advertising™ prevents expenditure of budget to reach citizens who are simply not going to be supporters of the organization doing the advertising. Rather, it cultivates those who are or likely could be supporters, increasing their knowledge of and respect for the organization.

Every organization should be doing Measured Brand Advertising™ and doing it continuously. Even if the initial budget is only $500 per month, it is affordable to most every organization. Measured Brand Advertising™, along with actual good performance of the organization, will strengthen a nonprofit brand, increase awareness of the brand among citizens who are in the target market, and ultimately increase willingness to provide financial support to the organization. In short, it will enhance the nonprofit organization's brand. 

Wiland is Here to Help

Wiland is committed to helping political clients thrive in today's challenging and evolving marketplace by helping them acquire new donors, improve their existing donor base, and enhance their brand image.

Political committees, issue advocacy groups, candidates, and ballot initiatives are vital components of our national political structure. Organizations connect people to information regarding the things they care about. They connect activists across the country who may never meet in person. Political and issue fundraisers teach, they inform, they inspire, and they influence.

Wiland is committed to helping political clients thrive in today's challenging and evolving marketplace by helping them acquire new donors, improve their existing donor base, and enhance their brand image. Through the identification of audiences that give initially and give again at above average rates, Wiland seeks to insure the financial viability of every nonprofit group it serves.

Contact Wiland today to learn more about our entire suite of donor acquisition and other political services. They are here to help.


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