Building a Foundation for Growth

More than twenty years ago, we re-worked our walkway in front of our home here in Massachusetts. After weeks of research, expert guidance and site preparation, we installed a brick walkway.

The foundation took a lot of materials and work:

15 inches of sand

7 inches of stone dust

Both materials watered in and compacted over the course of a week.

That was all before we cut and laid bricks, secured with stone dust (no mortar).

After decades of snow, rain, drought, and everything else Mother Nature could throw at it, the walkway is in excellent shape: not a single brick is out of place. A conscientiously installed foundation, without shortcuts or skimping, made all the difference in the longevity of the project. Our friends skimped on materials and rushed their project. Within two years they had to call in professionals to redo their washed-out walkway.

That is my metaphor for donor acquisition. At CDP we believe in a diverse membership portfolio that recognizes the importance of donor acquisition as a foundation for long-term health of a membership program.

Your Revenue Opportunity and Action Report (ROAR) measures key KPIs such as Member Retention, Revenue Retention, number of Sustainers and Sustainer Revenue Retention, which represent the bricks in my metaphor. The foundation on which those metrics are built, one that assures long-term growth, is comprised of acquired and re-acquired donors. Acquisition takes many forms. Many stations rely on Pledge as the chief acquisition tool. Pledge relies on serendipity and a prospect pool that tends to shrink as the drive progresses.

However, as annual goals continue to grow a, single-channel approach is only going to get your membership program so far. Public media fundraisers are not the types to say, “Good enough is good enough.”

Based on station best practices and digital techniques, CDP has developed tools and projects that build upon Pledge efforts to diversify acquisition channels.

They include:

No-risk Acquisition mailings that have competitively low cost-to-acquire

Free digital prospecting curated by CDP team members

Door-to-door Canvassing that uses data, scale, and personalized interactions to help stations acquire donors (including Sustainer conversion) within multiple market sizes and budgets

The second phase of no-risk Lapsed Recapture testing is in progress as well, with a similar cost structure to our Acquisition project.

Of course, the strength of your station’s community service and programming are key factors in the success of your acquisition program. If your programming team is focused on audience engagement, CDP can help turn those engaged audience members into donors that will help strengthen your program’s foundation. Contact us and get started on expanding your acquisition channels.

Barry NelsonComment