Up Your Fundraising Game: Putting the Co-ops on Your Side

Date Published
Amy Houke

Cooperatives are national consumer databases with the donor transaction data from nonprofit organizations across all verticals. Your participation buys you access to this valuable data for use in multiple ways.

  1. Identifying prospects for your new donor acquisition efforts
    By evaluating your own active donors and gaining a deeper understanding of them by virtue of what other types of causes they support, cooperatives can help you to locate more look-alikes to approach with an appeal.
  1. Modeling your own lapsed donors or other prospects
    As your pool of lapsed, deeply lapsed, and prospects grows, continually mailing all of them can become expensive and unproductive. Let the power of the cooperative help highlight only the prospects most likely to join your organization’s cause.
  1. Custom response modeling
    Analysts at a cooperative can look at the pool of individuals you solicited with an appeal and then evaluate those who responded in comparison with those who didn’t. The outcome of this analysis is an algorithm weighting each characteristic in terms of its impact on response.

The very name cooperative implies cooperation between the repository and its members. So, what do you have to do in return for this wealth of information?

  1. Contract execution
    Participation in a cooperative is contractual, binding both parties to certain responsibilities. The cooperative commits to maintaining “blindness” – your organization’s participation is never disclosed and your individual donors are never identifiable to other cooperative participants. Moreover, if you provide any unique donor not already in the database, it is not retained by the cooperative. As a member, you are obligated to contribute data.
  1. Ongoing, regular data contribution
    While you reserve the right to not contribute your major donors, you must submit the names and addresses of all your active donors along with the dates and gift amounts for one to three years of giving transactions. The frequency of this data contribution varies by cooperative and may take into account the schedule on which you mail and are bringing in new batches of donors.
  1. Specific data contribution for response model builds
    If you opt for a specific response model to be built just for you, you will need to submit the full mail files and responder files for one or more appeals.

Some cooperatives consist of nothing but nonprofit members. Some have a combination of commercial and nonprofit. While cooperatives may not replace all your existing list rentals, they can be a valuable source of new names and frequently perform on par with acquisition benchmarks. The names you rent from a cooperative, when shipped, arrive already net of your donors so they retain a higher percentage of their input quantity in the merge providing yet another benefit.

Want to find out more about how the cooperatives can enhance your donor acquisition efforts? Contact Allegiance Fundraising.

About the Author:
Amy Houke
Media Director, Agency Services

Role at the Company

I am responsible for providing media research and recommendations to AFG clients. I work closely with other AFG team members to assure that prospect list and print recommendations are consistent with the overall strategic and creative direction of each program.

My experience has included media planning for many types of non-profit clients, including public broadcasting stations, animal welfare organizations and food banks.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

Successful fundraising is about getting your organization’s mission into the hearts of your current and prospective donors. My job is to identify your future donors. That comes from a deep understanding of who your current donors are and what they look like. That’s exciting!

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

I enjoy serving in small group leadership and doing local mission work with my church.

Finally, an End-to-End Fundraising Solution Accessible to all Nonprofits

DMW Fundraising and Member Benefits are now part of Allegiance Fundraising Group

Allegiance Fundraising Group brings together three well-established fundraising teams to create an end-to-end fundraising solution that makes it easier for you to reach your mission. Today you can turn to a single team for seamless fundraising strategy and implementation, donor management software, and membership loyalty programs.

Learn more about Allegiance Fundraising