by guest blogger Lisa Sargent, fundraising copywriter, donor communications specialist, and rabid defender of direct mail.
Before you shoot your copywriter because he or she hasn't been the creative cash cow you hoped, I strongly suggest you consider this acronym for direct mail success -- in order of priority, according to website SOFII ...
Put another way (hat tip to the late Bob Stone, direct marketing legend), 60% of the success hinges on the List, 30% on the Offer, and 10% on Creative.
You may have heard 40/30/30, or 40/40/20. Or some other variation.
The point is this: List (aka Audience) always has more impact on success in fundraising than Creative.
So, for example, if your house list contains a bunch of names of people who haven't given to you for 4, or 5, or more, years ... if you lump your one-time event participants in with your loyal donors ... and you spend good money mailing these people, over and over, in the exact same way that you communicate with your repeat givers ...
Your direct mail will never perform the way you expect, no matter what kind of creative geniuses you hire. List matters more than creative, every time.