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Combat Stress

Combat Stress


Data is at the heart of everything we do at Catalyst. Our data analytics and management team, Datalyst, are a vital part of the planning process and ensure that programmes and campaigns are rooted in the facts. As the team say a lot….the numbers don’t lie. 

When we started working with Combat Stress  we found that, like so many charities, the Fundraising Team were using a standard supporter segmentation based on supporter type and value. Supporters were described as Cash, Regular Giver, Lapsed Cash and Prospects etc. This approach works well for selecting certain groups for specific communications like events and upgrades.  However, when it was used as a selection tool for cash appeals, they ran into problems.

The most responsive supporters were clustered into a few key segments that contained large numbers of less (or non) responsive supporters. The ones who were really engaged with giving cash gifts to specific areas of Combat Stress’ work were scattered across all other segments and could not be easily picked out. As a result, the charity was left with large, unwieldy mailing files and high appeal costs.

Effective segmentation is simply a method of classifying individuals into groups with similar attributes in order to achieve your fundraising objective. Too often this is forgotten and segmentations are required to act as a one stop shop which works for all of your different fundraising functions and teams.

In this case, the objective for Combat Stress was to improve response rates and income from cash appeals and to reduce costs. The model needed to reflect and predict a supporters’ likelihood to respond and the value of that gift.

By analysing previous campaigns we developed a model based on Recency, Frequency and Value. This would select supporters for cash appeals where it was most relevant to their behaviour, most timely and most appropriate to the supporter’s journey with the charity.

We rolled back the model to show that if it had been in place for the previous cash appeal, the same income could have been achieved by mailing 6,000 fewer donors. This meant smaller costs and higher net income delivered straight to the charities work with Veterans suffering from PTSD.

Since we rolled it out, the model has improved response rates to cash appeals by 25% and average gifts have increased by 10%. 

In addition to this, we have been able to:

Identify high value cash donors

Find and profile high frequency and high value donors 

Identify donors who are suitable for conversion to regular giving 

Set a baseline for frequency and average value from which donors can be encouraged to grow

Develop highly accurate and individually tailored prompt strategies

Identify supporters at risk of lapsing, and develop communications to prevent this – much cheaper than trying to bring them back on board once they have already been lost. 

The RFV tool has also allowed Combat Stress to be more selective in the types of communications sent to each supporter and how much they cost. For example, where cash appeal returns are low and frequency long, we have developed a bespoke reactivation to bring supporters back on board.

Perhaps the biggest bonus of the RFV model has been its role in reducing costs and releasing budget to channel into new activity which is generating additional, long term income for the charity.