Like so many public media stations, New Mexico PBS supplements its on-air new donor acquisition with direct mail. Over time, direct mail donors prove to be more committed to the mission of public media, and so have higher retention rates than donors acquired through other channels such as pledge drives.
New Mexico saw their direct mail acquisition response rates very gradually decline over the course of eight quarterly campaigns — from 1.11% to 0.76%. The decision was made to test an offer that would boost response rates and bring more new donors through the door.
DMW Fundraising developed an offer test in which half of the acquisition prospects received the control offer of $40 and half received the Open Ask — an offer that lets the recipient decide how much to give (a minimum of $5 was required). We reasoned that by allowing the prospect to decide the amount to give, the test would likely yield a smaller average gift, although the offer would drive the response rate — generating more new donors.
- New Mexico PBS saw the Open Ask increase the response rate by 56%, and it won the test with a 99% confidence factor. Although the average gift of the test segment was $14 less than the control, the test segment still generated more gross revenue due to the tremendous increase in the response rate — our primary motivator for the test.