Virginia Public Media Donor Penetration Analysis

Date Published
Bill Blinstrub

The Situation

At Virginia Public Media response rates were stagnating (and occasionally falling) in its direct mail acquisition program. A review of the client’s history showed that VPM had been mailing the same areas for years, despite acquiring new stations recently. The Allegiance Client Manager assigned to VPM recommended that we perform a Donor Penetration Analysis.

The Strategy

Knowing that who you mail is even more important than what you mail, Allegiance went to work examining VPM’s acquisition challenges.

Allegiance took a close look at the client’s current donor file and compared it to the prospects and areas it had been targeting in acquisition. What we found was a significant disparity between where current donors actually live and the areas VPM had been targeting in acquisition.

Leveraging our in-house media expert, Allegiance performed a thorough donor penetration ZIP Code analysis on VPM’s file. We found that VPM had not been mailing many of the optimum areas to acquire new donors. Following acquisition of the data, the Allegiance VPM Team was able to identify ZIP Codes to add to the acquisition mailings, as well as some to remove.

As a result, AFG was able to identify a substantial number of ZIP Codes to be added to the mailings, increasing the net households in targeted ZIP Codes for acquisition by more than 188,000!

In August of 2019, VPM mailed the new ZIP Codes for the first time in its direct mail acquisition efforts.

The Results

Despite adding an average of 11,000 pieces of acquisition mail to each drop, VPM actually INCREASED its acquisition response rate by whopping 32% in the first year of mailing the new ZIP Codes!

All of this was done using the same offer and same mail packages as had been sent previously, proving that in acquisition, it really is who you mail that counts more than what you mail!


This demonstrates what we already knew: When it comes to direct mail acquisition, who and where you mail are even more important than what you mail.

Let Allegiance Fundraising create an analysis of your direct mail acquisition program. The results may be truly uplifting!

About the Author:
Bill Blinstrub
Senior Account Executive, Agency Services

Years in the industry

6 in Fundraising, 20+ in direct mail and marketing

Role at the Company

I develop and execute client strategy, as well as provide results analysis and budget management. I am the key face-to-face client contact, advising on all fundraising activities, best practices, trends, whatever my clients need! If my client needs something, I make it happen!

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I love the people, and the culture. AFG really creates a positive, proactive environment that empowers me to fully immerse myself in serving my clients. No idea is off limits, new thinking is encouraged, and everyone works together to meet one common goal.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

I am an avid- but not fast- runner. I enjoy competing in road races whenever possible. Its a great way to experience a new city/place, and I love running “unplugged”, no headphones. I love to hear the sounds of nature around me. Running really allows me to connect with a place and its people.

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