At LemonTree Fundraising we are passionate about making a positive impact on the fundraising world, let our members tell you their success stories!
member success member success member success member success member success
Key results from the top 8% were:
Driven by the belief that, with the right support, children who are born deaf should be able to fully integrate with the community and live their life to its fullest potential, Bruce and Annette set on their path to give deaf children a voice.
Starting with just five families, today The Shepherd Centre helps over 500 children and families each year through five centres in NSW and ACT, as well as families in Tasmania and rural and remote areas of Australia via tele-intervention (assistance via videoconferencing).
Joanne Rogers, Direct Marketing and Donor Services Manager, joined The Shepherd Centre in 2013. Joanne and her team work to recruit new donors to support the vital work of The Shepherd Centre and regularly update their existing donors on how their donations make a difference to children with hearing loss.
What challenges were you facing prior to becoming a LemonTree member?
Then in 2015, the results dropped. Combined with rising costs, we were hitting an ROI of just 0.3. It was difficult to pinpoint the exact reason. Maybe it’s because The Shepherd Centre brand name doesn’t indicate what we do, who we help and why. Perhaps it was because we only have a presence in NSW, ACT and Tasmania and had been mailing premium packs for four years.
How did LemonTree help you overcome these frustrations?
So in 2016 we moved to a rolling campaign of 3,000 – 5,000 records per month. We consistently get a 10-12% conversion rate with a ROI of 0.65 which we’re really pleased with.
We’re acquiring around 150 new donors per month through telemarketing. We’re not talking huge growth because we know we’re not going to grow at the same rate as premium acquisition. This frees us up to focus on increasing average gifts, second gifts and donor retention. The Shepherd Centre is helping over 500 children now, but so many more need our help. Sustainable, quality donors (high second gifts and RG conversion) is key to this growth so retention is our biggest focus right now and this is where donor care becomes even more critical.
What does being a LemonTree member mean to you and The Shepherd Centre?
Joel and his team have a genuine interest in ensuring the longevity of our donor-relationships and the longevity of the fundraising industry itself. That’s why LemonTree goes the extra mile with things like their Donor Centric Community events, to bring people from the industry together. If we as an industry can work with LemonTree to become more donor-centric…if the industry as a whole can truly learn to embrace donor centricity, then think how good it will be for the donor and for us!
Since working with LemonTree, I’m so much more aware of our database behaviour and what we can do to retain our donors. Joel introduced me to AreaTen, a business that creates social and live chat technology for websites. We trialled their product on our website and have had a great response! That’s what LemonTree is all about – creating a community of like-minded people. Being a member of LemonTree is so unlike other co-ops. LemonTree is always striving to connect with its members and provide us with a very personalised, caring experience that goes far beyond anything else I’ve experienced.
Through these programs, Starlight seeks to disrupt the relentless cycle of pain and trauma and offer a welcome break so that sick kids can simply be kids.
The success of these programs relies heavily on Starlight’s income. Prior to the global financial crisis (GFC), they had been very corporate-focused in their fundraising. But after the GFC hit, it became clear that they needed to set up a Regular Giving program to safeguard a consistent income and insure the stability of Starlight’s programs.
As Individual Giving Manager for Starlight, Justine’s primary objective is to increase income through a series of regular appeal and gifting programs designed to attract new supporters, and engage, grow and retain existing supporters.
“Individual giving is critical to Starlight,” says Justine. “It accounts for more than a third of our overall fundraising income, so it is critical to sustain our program delivery.”
What were you struggling with prior to becoming a LemonTree member?
The data was exhausted. We needed to identify a smarter way to target the right new donors. I spoke to Joel about LemonTree and what they could do to help.
How did you work with LemonTree to overcome this?
It was really interesting! By doing smaller numbers each month we were able to tweak and optimise based on the response rate and average gift. We kept testing different models of data based on recommendations from LemonTree and then internally we tweaked and tested the pack we sent – the content, the message, the stories, and so on.
If we were still mailing 100,000+ we just couldn’t have done that. We would have used up all our budget in one hit! But the small, well-targeted tests allowed us to tweak and learn and optimise our campaigns. For every campaign we sent, we had a target response rate and an average gift rate that we wanted to achieve. We kept refining and testing until we got to a point where we were consistently hitting or exceeding those goals. So then it became a case of using the data to find, target and acquire more of these sorts of people.
Have you achieved what you set out to?
Something of an added bonus has been analysing the key metric of the second gift rate, the percentage of people that give again. Of the new appeal donors we acquired in the back half of last year, 25% of them have already given again within just seven to eight months! To put this into perspective, the current Pareto Fundraising Benchmark says 26% give again in the first year so this is a really good indication of long term success. Signing up these type of good quality donors, that become long term supporters is what will continue to drive Starlight’s programs for sick kids.
What advice do you have for anyone considering joining LemonTree?
With such a large pool of data, it can be quite intensive so we very much viewed working with LemonTree as a partnership. That was really important to us. LemonTree has this huge amount of data that they analyse and recommend ways for members to test and tweak. In parallel, internally, we are testing and tweaking the creative content. You don’t want to change too many variables at once as you won’t know which one has made the difference in the results – especially with small sample testing. That’s why working in partnership with LemonTree has been really important to our success.
LemonTree is different to other co-ops. You’re not just buying a list of cold data. LemonTree uses different models and scoring systems to analyse their data to try and find the best donors for their members to approach with campaigns.
It’s really important to Starlight to make sure our donors are having a good experience. We don’t want to make people cross or frustrated. We need to be mindful of over-targeting and I know LemonTree is also very passionate about this.
All charities are facing the same challenge: acquire good people who will give often. But we are all essentially fishing in the same pool. So we all have to be mindful of the supporter experience. If we’re all going crazy and bombarding people with 30+ mailing packs it will look like we – as an industry – are wasting the generosity and donations of our supporters. We have to be collectively mindful of that.