How Save The Children used AI to engage more mid-value donors to support children in need

Save the Children is the world’s leading aid and development agency dedicated to protecting children and helping them reach their full potential.

In 2022, Save The Children Netherlands partnered with Dataro to see if they could convert more of their mass-market donors (single giving, recurring giving, multi-donors) to mid-value level using Dataro’s AI donor predictions.

Specifically the goal was to use machine learning (Dataro’s AI software) to:

  1. find new mid-value prospects in their existing database
  2. test the effectiveness of their mid-value stewardship journey

Using Dataro’s mid-value propensity model, the charity identified new mid-value prospects and converted 359 new donors to mid-value (or higher) via their appeals and loyalty communications since late 2023. The charity’s EOY 2023 appeal raised record-level income, driven by a substantial lift in mid-value gifts and a record number of new mid-value donors.

 

Key results

Using AI to identify high-propensity mid-value prospects to engage in their fundraising efforts, the charity:

  • Converted 359 standard-level donors to mid-value level (or higher)
  • Achieved the highest number of new mid-value conversions in any quarter ever
  • 337 mid-level conversions 
  • 21 high-value conversions
  • 1 major donor conversion

How we did it

Dataro has a strong track record of helping nonprofits find mid-value prospects already in their database for stewarding.

In this case, Dataro’s Mid-Level donor propensity model was implemented directly within the charity’s CRM – Salesforce NPSP.

Using machine learning, Dataro’s software generated propensity ranks for all of the charity’s active cash donors, ranking their supporter base on how likely each donor would be to give between $500 and $5,000 cumulatively over the next 12 months if stewarded effectively. The charity’s threshold for a new mid-value donor is €300 to €900 within a fiscal year, in the period of one to three fiscal years. 

Dataro’s predictions were seamlessly integrated into the charity’s CRM against the donor record as a rank to help the charity identify its top prospects and prioritize their stewardship efforts. The ranks were updated in their CRM weekly.

 

What they tested

Save The Children wanted to test the accuracy of Dataro’s mid-value prospect predictions and the effectiveness of their stewardship journey to convert mid-value prospects.

Using Dataro’s mid-level donor ranks, the charity pulled a list of its top 10,000 mid-level prospects. After applying mailing exclusions, the charity reduced its selections to the top 2,118 prospects.

 The top mid-value prospects were then split into two groups for testing:

  1. Test Group > mid-value mail pack and asks
  2. Control Group > received standard mail pack and asks

This strategy allowed them to evaluate which content approach was more effective in encouraging donors to increase their giving to mid-value levels. 

It’s important to note that the Test Group of donors received the same mid-value packs as existing mid-value donors, meaning this was not a mid-value donor conversion journey. 

A third group (Flow-In Group) of approximately 5,000 donors was also identified as high-propensity mid-value donors that continued to receive standard donor communications (the same as the Control Group).

 

Analyzing the results

The Test Group of high-propensity mid-value prospects receiving the mid-value donor journey converted 19.5% more prospects to the mid-value giving level than the Control Group of high-propensity mid-value donors, which received the standard engagement journey (lower ask amounts and standard mail packs). 

While the Control Group had higher average gift amounts of €74 (versus €66 for the Test Group), the response rates were 36.8% higher for the Test Group, suggesting a lower ask strategy for a mid-value conversion journey might deliver better response rates.

The Flow-In Group (which received the same journey as the Control Group) achieved the highest number of conversions (157 = 3% conversion rate).

Despite the differences in responses, both stewardship and ask strategies converted mid-level donors, resulting in the best quarter ever for new conversions. A total of 359 mass-market donors converted to mid-value level or higher during the testing period.

What they said

“Knowing which donors to steward for increased giving can be challenging. With Dataro’s mid-level donor insights we’ve been able to accurately identify our best donors to nurture and convert to mid-value giving. In fact, this is the highest number of donors we have converted to mid-value giving in any quarter, ever! We’re thrilled with the results so far and continue to use Dataro’s donor predictions to focus our stewardship efforts on those most likely to convert to high-value supporters.”

Emma de Melker

Donor Relationship Manager

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