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Wycliffe Bible Translators

Appealing to Donors' Hearts – Cultivation Appeal Success with Wycliffe

The Challenge

In 2013 Blue North saw a trend emerging from Wycliffe’s monthly cultivation appeals: things were trending downward. Average gift size, number of gifts and total revenue were all decreasing. Immediately, we set out to understand what was going on with the direct mail file and how we could correct-course.

The Solution

We conducted a Cultivation Appeal Audit to review all aspects of the solicitation program that our direct mail file was receiving. Our Audit reviewed all aspects of the cultivation appeals and ended with four key recommendations for the client:

  1. Optimize audience file (per appeal) by removing poorest performing segments from prior year
  2. Focus every appeal offer on the donor’s impact – transformation of lives!
  3. Review the timing of all appeals to allow for optimal intake period (4-week minimum)
  4. Honing content and creative
    • Copy needs to speak from the heart – directly appeal to what matters to the donor
    • Strong ‘story’ openings followed by an ask that gets right to the point
    • Test creative design to find look and feel
    • Tone should feel like this is a personal appeal from the President.

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The Results

Throughout 2014 we adhered to these four recommendations and tested each appeal against the “instincts” and “feelings” that crept into decision-making. The end result has been excellent! After our testing, honing, and roll-out of successful strategies, we can report that organizational revenue grew by 34% since FY13. Annual donor counts have increased by 9% and Average Gift remained stable despite an influx of new donors into the file! Concerning income-to-cost, we have grown our return year over year.

Overall, Blue North’s work with Wycliffe was accomplished thanks to a strong understanding of the pain-points in their donor file and a commitment to testing. Currently, we are engaged in optimizing Wycliffe’s landing pages to improve conversion from visit to gift; and building a new donor Welcome Kit to improve a new donor’s time to second gift and increase retention.