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St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio Dives into donorCentrics™ Data to Increase Renewal Rates and Sustain Members

St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 KWMU-FM, part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, strives to be a source for high quality programs and a valuable asset to the community. The station is committed to providing in-depth news, thought-provoking and insightful discussion, and entertaining programs that focus on the issues and the people who shape the St. Louis community, the nation, and the world. Funding comes from individual members; corporate sponsors; the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and local, regional, and national grants.

Challenge

Denice Beckett-Hamilton, membership manager for St. Louis Public Radio, had just completed a pledge drive and was meeting with auditors to wrap up the fiscal year, but she still took some time to reflect on the past year and the benefits of using the Target Analytics® donorCentrics solution.

Like staff members in so many small public radio stations, time is a big factor for Beckett-Hamilton. There is never enough of it and she looks for efficiencies wherever she can. “I don’t know what I’d do without donorCentrics. The first thing I do when I start planning is pull out the reports,” she said. “They help us all stay on top of what we’ve done over time in terms of donor retention rates, giving levels, and attrition.”

The Program Overview provides year-over-year data, which Beckett-Hamilton uses to get a quick view of five-year giving trends. “It’s great to be able to see how we are doing compared with previous years. Having that quick overview is a time saver.”

It has also proven a good tool when she wants to drill deeper. “I’m a data cruncher,” she admitted with a smile in her voice. “I like to know as much about our donors as I can.”

Solution

“I often look at the donor Source Code Diagnostic report. It’s a good way to look at your marketing codes to see if they are correct. When I find errors or incorrect categories, I can fix them.”

Increased accuracy is, of course, critical. By way of example, Beckett-Hamilton points to an error they discovered in their donor coding “triggers” for their Renewal and Add Gift Cycle. “We discovered we were asking for Add Gifts too early. Once we realized that, we were able to recalibrate the timing of our communications.”

As a result, St. Louis Public Radio accurately shifted the renewal schedule for donors.

Another critical report for Beckett-Hamilton is the Collaborative Benchmarking report, which compares key measures and trends among participating peer public radio stations. “It’s really important to compare ourselves to what other stations our size are doing,” she said. “The benchmarking meetings help as well. I can see what others are doing and how it’s working for them.”

Results

Like many others who attend benchmark meetings, Beckett-Hamilton hopes to “borrow everything we can from comparable stations that are finding success.”

Serendipitously, as the station was developing a strategy to increase its sustaining member base, Beckett-Hamilton attended a benchmarking session where the moderator discussed the importance of including a sustaining message in every communication to every donor or potential. “So we started to do it, and we’ve noticed a big increase in sustainer giving. We went from essentially zero to where we are now – 21% of our database is in sustainer giving.”

Regarding time, it’s difficult to provide more of that, but Beckett-Hamilton feels that by regularly reviewing her donorCentrics reports, she’s able to keep up on the important numbers even at the busiest times of the year.

“I do love looking at the data. I’m always asking myself: Did we do what we wanted to do? Did we do what we thought we were doing?”

And with the reports she gets from Target Analytics, she feels like she has more time to focus on answering those questions than in searching for the information.

 
 

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