Detroit Public Television

Maximizing Returns from Fundraising Pledges for Detroit Public Media Organization

Additional donation revenue generated in the first 4 months.

Reduced mail cost by $15,000 Year 1.

Increased Kids Club members.


You’ve run a pledge drive and now the clock is ticking. Quickly and efficiently turning pledges into donations can make or break a pledge drive’s success. And for the pledges that were already paid, an acknowledgement of that support can be the quickest path to building positive donor sentiment and future support. But how do you get these communications out in a timely manner, without high mailing costs and limited internal resources? Our approach has proven to increase response while driving down the cost and time to manage this process.

Detroit Public TV’s process at the time included:

  • Pledge invoices batched monthly for mailing to save cost
  • Acknowledgements batched monthly to facilitate internal processing
  • Credit card rejects, Sustainer welcome letters, back order notifications and installment reminders processed internally
  • Small quantities of each type of mailing, requiring the use of first-class postage
  • Considerable drain on internal staff to manage all the processes


  • Analyzed transactional data and developed an efficient strategy for data-driven messaging
  • Evolved mailing effort process to drive down costs of print and mailing
  • Combined over 30 different letter communications going out at various intervals into a single weekly mailing
  • Created an “upsell” message for acknowledgement of gifts that were below established membership levels
  • Implemented variable content, including brand elements, based on station affinity


  • Quicker response to pledge transactions creating a much higher response rate
  • Turned acknowledgment expense into revenue generator by capturing additional donations in the first 4 months
  • Increased the number of Kids Club members
  • Reduced internal energy required to manage the process to almost zero