Marketing Budget Optimization™ for Political Nonprofits

The term Marketing Budget Optimization™ may sound complicated, but in fact it is a simple, straightforward way to increase the cost-effectiveness of fundraising campaigns. But what is it, and how does it work? First, let's talk about "net names" and then about how an innovative service from Wiland optimizes their performance.

Wiland Marketing Budget Optimization™ eliminates the prospects that are not worth contacting, saving precious marketing budget, and retains the good prospects, significantly improving the organization's fundraising results.

Wiland Marketing Budget Optimization™ eliminates the prospects that are not worth contacting, saving precious marketing budget, and retains the good prospects, significantly improving the organization's fundraising results."  

From the earliest days of direct mail, duplicate names on mailing lists have been a problem. Receiving multiple copies of the same fundraising effort is not just a waste of a nonprofit organization's limited resources. It's a huge turnoff to potential donors because it implies the organization is wasting money.  

The problem of duplicated mail pieces (or emails) arises when a nonprofit organization conducts a donor acquisition effort using multiple lists. The same individual can appear on two or more of the mailing lists utilized. The solution used by all major fundraising marketers is called "Merge/Purge." Merge/Purge is a computer processing step that combines multiple lists, compares the individuals on the lists, and eliminates duplicates. Prospect lists are merged, duplicates purged, and usually, an organization's active donors are included as a "purge" file. The individuals remaining after this process are called the "net names", and the complete file of net names is called a "net file"—a "clean" list with as few duplicate names as possible. This process is routine for most fundraisers. They order names, run Merge/Purge, and send the net file to a printer for production.  

What if this routine process could be harnessed to significantly increase a fundraisers marketing effectiveness? What if the "net names" from the Merge/Purge process could be "optimized" to drop those who are extremely unlikely to give, saving a lot of marketing expense and driving up response rate for the net names that remain? This is exactly what Wiland Marketing Budget Optimization™ service does: It eliminates the prospects that are not worth contacting, saving precious marketing budget, and retains the good prospects, significantly improving the organization's fundraising results.  

The portion of a 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. An average of about 20% of every mailing is wasted.

Marketing Budget Optimization™ starts with the premise that all net files have one thing in common: they always contain individuals who do not merit the investment the nonprofit group is about to make in them. These bad prospects are all mixed in with the good ones. They are invisible to the fundraiser, and invisible to the service bureau running the Merge/Purge. But they are visible to Wiland—because Wiland has the biggest database of donors that exists anywhere and understands each person's giving, purchasing, and reading habits better than anyone else. Wiland's experience with over 2,500 clients reveals startling absolute facts: Every net file contains prospects that are not worth the investment. The portion of a 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. An average of about 20% of every mailing is wasted. Fundraisers need to fix this problem. Wiland Marketing Budget Optimization™ is the answer.  

It only takes a day, and what a difference a day makes. Instead of the service bureau sending the organization's net file to the printer they FTP it to Wiland. In one full business day Wiland optimizes it, culls the portion that isn't worth mailing and sends the remaining portion of the net file to the printer (or back to the service bureau)—whichever firm will perform postal presort. Bad prospects gone, before printing and postage is spent on them; good prospects retained; results enhanced.  

Marketing Budget Optimization™ uses a powerful Wiland predictive model to rank each name on a net file according to likelihood of response. The client provides the actual cost of their marketing campaigns. The net file is divided into segments and probable ROI is calculated for each segment. The client then decides what level of investment is acceptable. Many fundraisers invest to acquire new donors and have an investment threshold that dictates what ROI is acceptable based on the length of time it takes to recover their initial investment and donor long term value. Once the ROI cut-off is decided then the fundraiser has several options:

  • Drop all of the prospects that are in segments below the ROI cut-off, and reduce the marketing spend.
  • Drop the prospects below the ROI cut-off and replace them with higher-scoring Wiland prospects.
  • Drop the bad prospects and redeploy the saved budget to a Wiland-managed digital campaign that reaches an even larger audience and produces superior ROI.
  • Drop the bad prospects and redeploy the budget to a campaign that Wiland doesn't manage.
  • Or, some combination of the above options.  

Testing should be conducted to determine which of these options is superior. But regardless of how a group uses the money it saves, it is not wasting marketing budget on bad prospects just because they survive the Merge/Purge process. Every net file contains prospects that are not worth the marketing budget to contact them. Marketing Budget Optimization™ eliminates these bad prospects, improving the organizations bottom line.  

 Just allow a little time between the end of Merge/Purge and the beginning of print production and you can significantly improve fundraising results.

As innovative as this process is, it is not time consuming. Usually it can be done in one business day, almost never more than 48 hours. Just allow a little time between the end of Merge/Purge and the beginning of print production and you can significantly improve fundraising results.  

Most political organizations today struggle with the need to add new donors cost effectively. List and postage costs keep going up, good prospective donor lists are harder to come by, and average donations don't keep pace with rising costs. Imagine the ability to significantly increase the productivity of every list of prospective donors your organization uses by adding a single, simple step to the production process. It could be a game-changer in today's tough market.  

Like all Wiland solutions for fundraisers, the impact of each Marketing Budget Optimization™ is measurable, and Wiland's constant goal is to improve performance in every market served. Wiland is dedicated to helping organizations like yours achieve top and bottom line growth and improved investment returns. Political and issue advocacy fundraisers turn to Wiland to attain:

Higher Marketing ROI. Clients use our services to direct their marketing budgets to audiences and channels likely to produce the best immediate and long-term results. The impact is higher marketing ROI, and an improved bottom line.  

Measurable Results. Whether online or offline, Wiland insists on measurable marketing. They want to know with certainty that what they do for clients is working—and offer solutions for which results can be tracked and precisely measured.  

Incremental Revenue and Profit. Wiland solutions utilize deep consumer intelligence and proprietary technology, empowering clients to present their marketing messages to the best audiences, at the ideal time, across the optimal channels. Wiland helps clients maximize the value of existing donor relationships, while providing highly targeted prospect audiences that produce superior long-term profits.  

No other company can match the depth and breadth of Wiland's capabilities or its unique dedication to assisting political and issue advocacy groups. Marketing Budget Optimization™ is just one of many innovative services Wiland provides to fundraisers. Wiland's superior predictive modeling practices and unique transactional database helps fundraisers achieve higher revenue, better return on investment, and a stronger relationship with donors. Contact Wiland today to learn more.

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