Nov 2017 AFR: 2.4%
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Single-Offer Emails Get the Best Results: More Insights from Crescendo's 2017 Communications Study

This is the second post on testing planned and major gifts fundraising offers to increase donor response.  The example discussed in this post was featured in Crescendo's recently released 2017 major and planned gifts communications study — How to Attract Donors & Increase Response to Your Marketing

To test specific offers, Crescendo designed a series of three emails for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This test was designed to compare the performance of two emails, each presenting a single offer, versus a third email that contained multiple offers.

The first two emails offered information and a gift illustration related to a single gift option. Version A presented information related to a retirement charitable remainder trust (“CRT”). Version B presented information related to a deferred charitable gift annuity (“deferred CGA”). The third email, Version C, focused on information related to both the CRT and the deferred CGA. Each email was sent to more than 10,000 UNC-Chapel Hill supporters.

The results were exceptional. Version A’s offer promoting the retirement unitrust produced both the highest open rate (26.72%) and CTR (2.61%). Version B, promoting the deferred CGA, had an open rate of 25.97% and CTR of 1.64%. Version C, which contained the multiple offers, saw the lowest open rate (a very impressive 25.61%) and finished with the second-highest CTR (2.08%).

This test shows that a focused single offer normally performs better than multiple offers. It confirms the results of a similar test conducted as part of Crescendo’s 2016 marketing study, involving a hospital and four emails to promote bequests. It might be tempting to send a single email offering multiple gift options without regard to the donors’ ages or demographics. This “something for everyone” approach does not work as well as communication that uses segmentation. With segmentation, an email is targeted based on donor demographics and likely receptivity.

Tips for Making Specific Offers


For more ideas on effective ways to communicate with donors and increase response to your marketing, contact Crescendo at 1-800-858-9154.

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About Kristen Schultz Jaarda, JD, LLM

Kristen Schultz Jaarda

Kristen Schultz Jaarda is Executive Vice President of Crescendo Interactive, Inc. She specializes in charitable tax planning and online marketing for planned gifts. She is responsible for client education and leads Crescendo's marketing services and support team. She is a nationally recognized speaker, conducts seminars nationwide and is a principal faculty member of GiftCollege.

Kristen serves as a board member for the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) and as a member of the ACGA Rates and State Regulations Committees, Editorial Advisory Board member for Planned Giving Today, Committee Member for the ABA Charitable Planning and Organization's Group, past Legislative Chair and a board member for the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Los Angeles (PPP-LA), a member of the Ventura County Planned Giving Council and a committee member and volunteer for several California charities. She writes weekly for CrescendoTweet and her planned giving blog.

Previously, Kristen served as Counsel to the Assistant Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. and was Oversight Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Prior to that, she worked in a public affairs law practice. Kristen graduated from UCLA School of Law where she was Law Review Editor. She completed her Tax LL.M. with honors at Loyola School of Law. Kristen is a member of the California State Bar, D.C. Bar and the Maryland State Bar.

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