In my previous post, I shared about an urgent campaign I am working on related to the purchase of a new vehicle. I used TntConnect’s Campaign Builder to help me categorize my team into four groups. That was the easy part.
The harder part was building my challenge. I have a specific amount I need to raise, and I asked myself how to spread that need across a list of ~150 people. I do not need to go into exhaustive detail because I am not “teaching” you how to do this, but just sharing an idea to spur your thinking.
One option, of course, would be to just send an open-ended ask, which I have frequently done with a year-end appeal or a summer training conference appeal; but I ruled that out because open-ended asks (in my experience) do not work well with a significant and specific need.
There are several other options, but in this case I tried something I have never done before: I individually challenged each partner to give based on the amount of their giving over the past year. I used the Campaign Builder to categorize my newsletter list into four Groups:
- For Prospects ($0 average giving over the past two years) in the campaign], I challenged all to give “$25 or $50”. This list represents about 1/3 of my newsletter recipients, so any gift from them will be new and unusual.
- Entry-level partners (monthly average $1 to $100), the challenge went up in $25 increments relative to their giving, so roughly equal to their monthly average. I also hand-wrote a short note on the bottom of each of these letters.
- Mid-level partners (monthly average $100 to $200), I challenged to give similarly but with a bigger spread: “$150 or $250”.
- Top-level partners I held back to give a personal challenge to. For these partners, I plan to verbally present the need and let them decide.
This ask involves a little bit of Excel work, because I needed to know their “Average Monthly Giving” to determine how much to challenge each person.
From the “idea” perspective, I’ve reached my maximum words, so please stop reading unless you want more details and some preliminary results…
Some practical details…
I used Group Actions | Export Current Group to send the list(s) to Excel, with both of the letter/envelope merge fields (Greetings and Mailing Address Block). But I also exported the Average Monthly Gift field to help me determine the challenge amount.
- Columns A & B: Greetings and Mailing Address Block for the letter and envelope
- Column C: Average Monthly Gift field from TNT
- Column D: My suggested gift #1
- Column E: My suggested gift #2
My ask was easy to calculate because I am attempting to raise about 25-50% more than one month’s average giving. Since I challenged most of my partners to give an amount roughly equal to their average monthly gift—which is an amount they can easily relate to—if 100% of my partners respond I will meet that goal.
But my experience does not suggest that will happen. By challenging those who never give, and offering a challenge roughly double each person’s monthly gift, the ‘maximum challenge’ is about 50% more than I actually need.
I included the challenge amount in the letter and also a mail merged response card that has their name and amounts (so that the right card gets with the right letter). [Note: Printing those response cards also involved a little bit of Excel-wizardry.]
Just in the time I was writing this blog I had to live my real life, so between the time I started writing two weeks ago and now I have sent the letter and already received 23 responses. As always, God has surprised me! I received the first gift notification (an email from my organization) on the first business day after I mailed the letter and the first paper gift (in the return envelope) the day after that.
Of those 23 gifts, 17 of them (about 75%) have given the higher amount I suggested! And 7 of the responses (30%) are from those who have not given at all in the past year. And for 1 of them, it is the first gift they have ever given to our ministry. Finally, we are just under 1/3 of our total need so far and I have yet to pick up the phone to reach out to our top-level partners. Thanks, Lord. 🙂
p.s. Shout out: We purchased our new vehicle from mats.org. It arrived two days ago, and we are delighted.