Aryeh Zev Narrow (Spring Valley, NY) helps non-profits make more money by communicating better with their donors. Aryeh Zev works with small-to-mid-sized charities that want world-class marketing communications, but might not be able to afford (or prefer not to work with) big-dollar marketing agencies. Learn more about non-profit marketing and fundraising messages on Aryeh Zev’s blog: The Spark*. You can contact him at az at aznarrow dot com.
In the first part of this post, we explored how if you are looking for new donors, a rented (or borrowed) mailing list might be a goldmine. We also discussed concepts such as: Compiled vs. Response Lists and how to evaluate if a list is right for your organization.
When it comes to paying for a list, expect to pay in full up front, but prices (including optional “selects”; see below) are often negotiable. Also expect to pay extra for suppression (filtering out anyone who’s already on your own list). How much will that list set you back? Some lists are for exchange only, meaning the organization charges nothing, but will swap lists with you. (Note, the list broker will charge a small fee, around $10 per thousand names.)
A typical Jewish organization’s list may go for anywhere from $75 to $125 per thousand names. Compiled lists of Jewish donors may go for $60-90 per thousand. Jewish households, perhaps a bit less at around $50/thousand. Consumer email lists will set you back $100–150/thousand; minimum fees for email lists start somewhere around $1,000 for 5,000 email addresses per blast. FYI, big email databases (“100 million consumers!”) are usually not great, especially for small emailers.
Note, with email (and usually with print), the list owner will not put their precious data in your hands. For email blasts, you’ll send them your email in HTML format and they’ll send the blast for you. A week later, expect a detailed opens/clicks/bounces report. For mail, they’ll send their list to your mailhouse. (Make sure you’re using a mailhouse they trust; some list owners are particular.)
The advantages of using a list broker
A list broker can sometimes find lists you can’t find yourself and tell you from experience what’s worked best for organizations like yours. Brokers generally don’t add much to the cost (they take a commission—usually 20%—from the list owner) but their insights can be priceless. I’m not exactly objective about this; I worked as a list broker for a few years in the Jewish list niche.
Beware of a broker who won’t tell you who the list owner is or where the data came from. I once asked about a list for a client of mine. Another broker found a list and quoted 145 per 1,000 with no commission for me. (I’d have to mark it up.) I snooped around a little and found the list owner… who was charging just $95 for the same list, and was paying a commission.
Like any broker, a list broker makes a profit only when they rent a list; they work for the list owner, not the list buyer. Having said that, I still feel strongly brokers are the way to go, but find one who knows your field. You want to find a broker who understands not only what non-profits look for in a donor list, but ideally one who understands your particular niche (e.g. health, education, religion). They can make informed recommendations about how lists compare (e.g. they may know stuff that’s not on the data card). Rapport is also important; speak to a few brokers and choose one you feel comfortable with. They don’t add much (if anything) to your costs, but their insights can be priceless. Occasionally, they might even get you a better price than you could get yourself.
Here are some of the excellent Jewish list brokers:
• AB Data (compiled lists only)
• ADM Processing is not really a broker, but they have a proprietary list of Orthodox homes, so they can find (or exclude) Orthodox Jews from any list.
(Please tell them how you got their name!)