New Take on Renewals Pays Off:
Year-Over-Year Growth for KCTS 9
At the start of FY20, KCTS 9, Seattle’s PBS station, partnered with Allegiance Fundraising (AFG) for a new strategic approach to its direct mail program.
Part of our approach to onboarding a new client is to conduct a Strategic Growth Analysis (SGA) — a series of reports that show 5-year trending information. This analysis allows us to gain a clear understanding of what’s happening on the donor file and informs our strategic recommendations.
KCTS 9 has members in both the United States and Canada, with slight variations in the structure of each membership program. As we delved into the SGA, we saw differences in the retention rates based on geography. The US program was experiencing year-over-year increases, while the Canadian segment was plagued by declines. Had we not analyzed each program separately, it would have looked like the overall retention rate was flat. But this is really a “tale of two countries.”
The SGA armed us with the knowledge that we needed to focus on reversing the trend in the Canadian membership, while maintaining the growth in the US program.
To do this, we had a new take on the KCTS 9 renewals.
We started with a thorough review of the existing copy and creative, as well as results. What we found were missed opportunities.
The existing letters reminded the members of their favorite programs but were lacking a strong call to action. Additionally, the backs of the letters were blank — leaving this real estate unused.
AFG responded to these unearthed opportunities by making strategic changes to the copy/creative and offer, while maintaining an eight-effort series for the US audience and seven efforts for Canadian members.
Because of Allegiance Fundraising’s work with many public media stations, we have a library of proven packages. Thanks to the advantages of referencing this library, each letter could be personalized for KCTS 9 and crafted to speak to the specifics of membership for both US and Canadian audiences.
The new letter copy for both US and Canadian audiences reminds members about the value of public television to the community and why KCTS 9 is important. Each renewal effort has a unique headline, letting members know where they are in the renewal cycle with the urgency increasing with each successive effort. The back of the forms outlines different ways to support KCTS 9 such as a legacy gift, vehicle donation, corporate matching gift, as well as ways to contact KCTS 9 for questions about membership. The creative utilizes KCTS 9’s branding and colors throughout the package along with its tag line — “Help inspire a smarter world”— to strengthen and build the connection between the members and the station, to reinforce why members need to renew their membership.
In addition to the creative changes, we also moved away from a static ask table that had been in effect to a new dynamic ask string. We found that the previous ask table was in fact downgrading some donors. The new dynamic ask string is based on the donor’s current giving and provides ample opportunities to upgrade.
Leveraging the new dynamic ask string, we included the personalized asks within the letter copy, directly asking the member to renew at specific gift amounts — creating clear offers for members to act upon.
AFG’s strategy also addressed audience segmentation. We broke out new members — or those renewing for the first time — and multi-year members to allow us to see performance in each segment and track any changes moving forward.
Within the first half of the fiscal year, the new take on renewals is paying off for KCTS 9.
For KCTS 9, the new renewal program is paying off! The station is renewing more members, renewing them faster, and getting them back into the Add Gift cycle sooner.
Allegiance has the experience, expertise and tools necessary to enhance nonprofit campaigns and bolster support for worthy causes across the country. To learn more, get in touch with us today.