Unhappy with the results of your upgrade program? As with most organisations who have been around for a while, Oxfam faced a similar challenge. Although known for nurturing a strong regular giving community through a multi-channel development and retention strategy, in mid-2019, it had become increasingly obvious that segments who had been giving for some time were starting to plateau or in some cases decline. What was missing? Below we discuss.
Upgrade calling is the foundation for strong supporter engagement
It is common knowledge in the industry that 80 percent of an organisation’s donations often come from 20 percent of their most loyal, invested supporters. The more an organisation can do to show appreciation, value and attention to those who are investing their money and time, the more reliable, sustainable and dependable the organisation’s income stream becomes.
For Oxfam in particular, at the core of their relationship-building initiatives is their upgrade calling program, both in terms of the income it generates and the supporter engagement it builds.
Committing to communicate with unresponsive segments is key
Yielding strong results from its upgrade program efforts in the past, for Oxfam it had come slightly left of field when a segment of supporters seemed to slowly disengage. With many donors plateauing their giving amount and others declining their giving altogether, the team knew swift action needed to take place.
Rachele, Oxfam’s Direct Marketing Manager reflected,
‘We raised the prospect of resting these segments to restore the program’s ROI. To be honest we had started to wonder if the myth around there being a maximum number of times you can call a supporter to upgrade them was actually true. Thankfully, our telefundraising partner suggested that we leave them in the program and overlay a middle value approach in their supporter communications.’
To assist Oxfam in correcting the course of the program based on accurate data, our insights were able to inform the next steps taken, revealing that where the upgrade conversion rates and average upgrade value had slipped over time, the tenure and lifetime value of these supporters were exceptional – hence showing that keeping them in the program but adjusting how they were communicated with was key.
Adding a mid-value approach to other segments can re-engage slow responders
Throughout FY21, Oxfam tested the Raisers Hub recommendations by adding a new approach to their cohort of regular givers who had been giving for over five years, regardless of their giving amount. Tailoring the upgrade call to be more appreciative of their loyalty and longevity, the call celebrated their contributions and honoured their intention to remain committed – an in-depth call usually reserved for donors giving mid to high value amounts.
‘As well as an increase in upgrade conversion rates of 5%, and a 23.5% increase in their average uplift, we are continuing to see the retention benefits of these segments being included in the upgrade program. It is a perfect way to provide an update on our work and say thank you.’
For any organisation looking to upgrade segments that are seemingly disengaged, Oxfam’s telefundraising middle value approach certainly offers an incredible level of personalisation that yields results. Adapting their program to suit the donor uniquely has certainly seen Oxfam deepen their connection and engagement with these supporters.