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So Many Tests, So Little Time…Energy…Money

by Tiffany Neill

As direct marketing fundraisers we’re always asking, “is there a better way to do this?”  And so we test. Everything. All the time.

We test the color of the outer envelope, the teaser on the direct mail package, the subject line of the email, the content of the letter, the color of the “donate” button on a website, the telegiving script, the amount we ask the donor for, the amount requested on the reply form… heck, we can’t stop testing!

But, testing comes with a price. It costs us time, it costs our organizations money, and sometimes tests lose or just don’t make a difference (for example, has the color of a logo ever made a difference?)

When we conduct tests that lose or don’t move the needle, we raise less money for the cause or fewer people contribute.  It’s important that we only test things where the outcome could change the course of our fundraising.

But it’s hard to answer the question: “What tests should I really conduct in my direct response fundraising program?”

To help answer that question, on May 1, the Direct Marketing Association of Washington will present Test THIS… Don’t Test THAT at the SEIU Conference Center in Washington, DC. Tom Gaffny, from Tom Gaffny Consulting and Tiffany Neill, from Lautman Maska Neill & Company will share their experience from the trenches of direct response testing.

At the end of the day it’s about raising the most money to support the missions about which we care, and that means being smart about the direct response tests we do.  Tiffany and Tom will hold nothing back in sharing the victories they’ve had and the mistakes they’ve made in testing.  Hope to see you there.


TiffanyWith more than 20 years of fundraising experience, Tiffany Neill is Partner and Co-Owner of Lautman Maska Neill & Company, a direct response fundraising agency.