There are many ways to explain a declining response rate with new donor acquisition campaigns. More competition, poor quality names, lower list volumes to name just three. But there’s one growing cause that fundraisers are overlooking or just plain forgetting: match back.

It’s when someone responds to your mailer online or through other non-mail channels. You know, when they ignore your unique URL in the package and go straight to your website. All too often, these donations are claimed by the response channel, which distorts the picture and undervalues the mail campaign.

If other channels get the credit for new donors recruited in the mail, you end up making bad assumptions and invest in the wrong programs. It’s a shame to see organizations gut perfectly successful mail acquisition programs, because it puts the health and stability of the entire donor base at risk.

Bottom line, strategic decisions suffer when analytics don’t support fundraising.  And those analytics specific to acquisition must include a way to match back to the original source. This simple step gives you a more accurate assessment of campaign performance, strategy tests and above all list response.

So write this in big letters on your office wall: “Always Match Back!” The cost is nominal, but the impact on future donor acquisition planning is massive. Just ask one of our clients who uncovered this hidden lode of responses from their fall acquisition.