Charities can raise thousands of extra dollars from regular giving upgrades and reactivations each month by selecting which donors to contact using machine learning.

That was the key finding from a series of campaigns carried out in 2019 with a major children’s charity to test whether Dataro could improve regular giving returns.

Like many large not-for-profits, our partner used a structured monthly calling program to drive regular giving upgrades and reactivations. Every active regular giver received an ‘upgrade’ call after a certain number of months as part of their donor journey. Lapsed regular givers also received a ‘reactivation’ call a certain number of months after their gifts were terminated.

Dataro, however, believed that this ‘one-size-fits-all’ method actually resulted in less monthly conversions and more missed opportunities. Every donor is different, but the existing rule-based approach does not take this into account. Instead, we used machine learning to analyse more information about each donor and their relationship with the organisation, such as communication and transaction histories. This allowed us to identify detailed patterns in historical upgrades and reactivations and automatically generate predictions about which donors were more likely to upgrade or reactivate. Frequent score updates were critical, because they allowed the charity to select the best performing list each month based on the latest information.

The results were a clear. Machine learning works and can lead to better returns from regular giving telemarketing programs. 

RG Reactivations: The Results

Dataro provided reactivation predictions for three monthly telemarketing campaigns. When compared to monthly averages, the results were compelling. Key findings included:

  • Higher conversion rates. We saw an average conversion rate of 11.1% using Dataro, compared to 7.99% using simple rules. That’s an increase of over 38%.
  • More actual reactivations. We saw an average of 61 reactivations per month using Dataro, compared to 33 per month using simple rules. That’s an increase of nearly 85%.
  • Better net returns. Based on actual reactivations, we calculated an increase in the average net return per campaign of more than 140%, assuming a call cost of $15 and that each reactivated donor gave 12 monthly gifts.

RG Upgrades: The Results

Our partner used Dataro’s regular giving upgrade predictions to select a list for one monthly calling campaign. When we examined the results, the Dataro campaign was the best performing upgrade campaign of the entire year. Key findings included:

  • Highest Conversion Rates. We saw a conversion rate of 42.6% for the Dataro campaign, compared to a monthly average of less than 30% using basic rules.
  • More Actual Upgrades. The Dataro campaign resulted in 232 upgrades from 544 contacts, compared to a monthly average of 133 upgrades from 555 contacts.
  • Highest Projected Net Return. Based on actual upgrades, we calculated an increase in the net return per campaign of more than 160%, assuming a call cost of $15 and that each reactivated donor gave 12 monthly gifts.

Lessons Learned

Donors don’t upgrade and reactivate gifts according to a predefined schedule. So why do many charities act as if they do? 

In the past it has been convenient for charities to manage donor journeys this way. For example, every regular giver might receive an upgrade call 6 or 9 months after their first gift or a reactivation call 6 months after lapsing. But is this really a donor-centric approach? And does it deliver the best value for money for the charity?

Using propensity modelling, charities can better understand which donors are more likely to upgrade and reactivate at any point in time. This means they can ‘play the odds’ and increase monthly conversions by contacting donors at the best time, while not contacting individuals who are very unlikely to convert. With CRM integrations and frequent score updates (Dataro can update donor predictions as often as nightly), charities can optimise their call lists so they always select the best donors for that particular campaign.

This development drives greater personalisation and donor engagement and, most importantly, can lead to more money raised for your cause.

To find out more about monthly regular giving predictions, contact us here.